Military/Community Bloody Clash; the State Govt. Was Aware of the Operation Says Brigade Commander

Military/Community Bloody Clash; the State Govt. Was Aware of the Operation Says Brigade Commander.

Olabode Adaramola, Minna

The Brigade Commander, 31field Artillery Brigade Minna,Niger State, Brig.Gen. Moshood Olanrewaju Jimoh has told the commission of inquiry set up by the state government to investigate the remote causes of the bloody clash between the military and some communities in Bosso local government of the state, that the state government was fully aware of the operation.

Testifying before the commission in its resumed sitting in Minna on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Olanrewaju however said that the date and time of the operation were not communicated to the state government, but that during the operation,that Brigadier General A.B. Imam(rtd) the Security Adviser to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello , was informed by a different source.

He further disclosed that the security adviser actually called the military authority to informed it that some communities in Bosso local government area had put a distress call to him that they were under attack from some armed bandit, dressed in military uniform.

He told the commission under cross examinations that the military got it intelligent reports of armed stock pile by the communities during one the state security council meetings at the government house which led to the “cordon and search operation”.

On why the military decided to embark on the operation alone without the knowledge of other security agencies who are also part of the state security council like the police, department of the state security (DSS) and the civil defense corp, General Olanrewaju said that” the army feels that the operation was a simple one which ordinarily shouldn’t have lasted more than 30minutes”.

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“The military can embark on cordon and search operation on civilians based on information available like this one without informing other security agencies. It is not in all cases that the military has to embark on joint operation with other security agencies”.

When asked by the counsel to the state government, Ustaz Yunus Usman(SAN) on whether the military was aware of the United Nation military procedures of 1987 that no cordon and search operation by the military should be conducted after 6pm without a written approval from the President or Prime minister a country, General Olanrewaju said he was not aware of such international rule.

General Olanrewaju told the commission that contrary to claims by the communities that the soldiers were mistaken for armed bandits in military informs, the villagers knew very well that they were real soldiers from the Barracks because “the soldiers went to the communities with marked army vehicles”.

He pointed out that before the army vehicles were burnt by the villagers, all the batteries, the plate numbers and communication gadgets were removed by the villagers and that the army is yet to recover these items, stressing that “this is to show that the villagers know what they were doing”.

It could be recalled that 59 soldiers and 3 officers in 6military vehicles had invaded Kopa, Kpaidna, Dabga and Bambe communities in Bosso local government almost two months ago in what it called “cordon and Search” operation following security reports that the communities had stock pile arms, and this led to a blood clash between the military and the communities.

No fewer than 11 soldiers and 10 civilians were killed and properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed, including four military vehicles.

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