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Army denies killing Nasarawa students

28 February 2013, 11:03

Abuja - The Nigerian Army on Wednesday dismissed speculations that some army personnel killed four Nasarawa State University students while protesting lack of water on Monday in Keffi.

Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the Director Army Public Relations, dismissed the allegations in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on its activities.

Attahiru said no military personnel could open fire on innocent and unarmed civilians under unprovoked circumstances because they were well trained professionals.

``The Nigerian Army troops in Keffi did not shoot any student of Nasarawa State University.

``We are professionals and we are aware of the provisions of the law. We know when to use life rounds in such situation,’’ he said.

Attahiru said students of the university on Feb. 25 barricaded the Keffi-Akwanga Expressway, which was part of the 177 Guards Battalion's patrol route.

He said the road was blocked with woods and bonfires, which hampered traffic flow, leaving travellers stranded for hours and numerous vehicles damaged by the violent crowd.

The spokesman said the irate crowd looted traveller’s belongings and threw stones, bottles and metal objects at security operatives at the scene.

Attahiru said that three soldiers of the 177 Guards Battalion sustained degrees of injuries from the stones, bottles and metals thrown at them as a result of the violence.

``It is important to note that the combined effort of our troops in conjunction with other security agencies assisted in dispersing the crowd and removing all blockages from the road to ease movement of vehicles.

``Presently, law and order has been restored in the area and our troops are closely monitoring the security situation,’’ he said.

Attahiru said that as part of the army contribution toward global peace and security, the Federal Government had being contributing troops for peace support missions.

According to him, the 192 Battalion Owode and 223 Battalion Zuru, have been earmarked for deployment to the United Nations African Union Hybrid Operation in Sudan (UNAMID).

He added that the 174 Battalion, Ikorodu, and 322 Regiment, Benin, had also been earmarked for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The spokesman said that the army had achieved 100 per cent deployment for all ranks to the African-led International Support in Mali.

``The Nigerian Army has achieved 100 per cent deployment for all ranks to the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

``81 Battalion earmarked for AFISMA is currently on specialist training in Kachia and Sokoto on preparations to later replace 333 Regiment whose tour of duty will end after 180 days.

``Troops from 149 Battalion, Ojo, and 242 Recce Battalion, Badagry, are also earmarked for Economic Community Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB),’’ he said.

Attahiru said a Nigerian medical team was also earmarked for the United Nations Operations in Cote De’Ivoire (ONUCI).

He said infrastructural development in the army was ongoing in line with the Chief of Army Staff strategy of improving the welfare of personnel of the army.



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