The Nigerian Army has warned youths and other individuals against confronting soldiers on Operation Python Dance 111 (Egwueke 111) in the southeast geopolitical zone.
The army spoke against the backdrop of reports that soldiers shot three members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, killing one instantly and injuring two others in Aba, Abia State, following alleged confrontation with troops of the 144 Battalion as they tried to stop the pasting of alleged inciting materials against the Federal Government.
These were contained in a statement titled “Re: Python Dance: blood bath in Aba as soldiers storm market, open fire over Biafra referendum posters.”
The statement was signed by the Deputy Director of Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Arny, Col Sagir Musa.
He said that although, two soldiers on duty fired warning shots into the air, nobody was wounded or killed during the incident, adding that six IPOB members arrested were handed over to the police for further investigations.
“The Division wishes to state that although there was an incident involving 144 Battalion patrol team with some traders at Asa – Nnentu Spare Parts’ Market, in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, at no time was anybody shot at, wounded or killed as lopsidedly noted and therefore wrongly reported by the medium,” the army stated.
The statement continued: “However, six members of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, were arrested and handed over to the Nigerian Police, Abia State Command.
“The Division hereby sounds strong warning to any individual or group to desist from confronting troops on legitimate duty. Nigerian Army personnel will not tolerate violent secessionist agitation, are apolitical, neutral, professional and responsive in the discharge of our constitutional roles in line with the vision and policy directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
“Members of the public are please requested to disregard the wrongful publication as there has not been genuine report of any major fracas, rights abuses, shooting, wounding or killing of anybody by soldiers since the commencement of exercise EGWU EKE 111.”
Meantime, the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has said that no soldier is attached to any politician in the South East geopolitical zone, to harass political opponents as being claimed by mischief makers.
Spokesman of the Division, Col Sagir Musa, made this known in a statement, yesterday in Enugu.
Musa was reacting to reports that dozens of soldiers were attached to a prominent politician in Abia State, whom he is using to allegedly instigate violence in the state.
“For emphasis, the Division under the command of Major General Abubakar Sadiq Maikobi has so far, adequately, emphatically and consistently made it clear to the entire personnel of the Nigerian Army and the citizens of our great nation that army personnel are apolitical, neutral and totally insulated from any form of politics, political party leanings and or attachment to any politician, before, during and after the 2019 general elections,” he stated.