Ethnic Militia Kills Seven in Nasarawa Communities

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  • Boko Haram murders six persons in Borno villages
  • Accidental discharge kills two soldiers, Army insists Group alleges plot to provoke mutiny

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja, Emmanuel Ukumba in Lafia and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

At least seven Bassa ethnic nationalities of Toto Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa State were allegedly killed in a renewed attack on their communities by suspected Egbura mercenaries.

This is coming as Boko Haram insurgents laid siege to three villages in the outskirt of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, killing six persons and setting the affected villages ablaze.

In another development, the Nigerian Army said two soldiers were killed by an accidental discharge of ammunition during “in-theatre training” yesterday.

Following the development, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, has directed the Commander, 26 Brigade, Gwoza, Borno State, to immediately constitute a board of inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the killings.

It was also alleged that the dastardly act in Nasarawa State was accompanied by burning of Bassa houses by the Egbura mercenaries who wore full military camouflage and carried sophisticated weapons.

This was disclosed by the National Secretary of Bassa Cultural and Development Union, Gwatana Dogwo, during a press conference held yesterday in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

He said: “Last week, there was an outbreak of violence at Shafan Abakpa (Sopio) where not less than seven Bassa people were killed in the encounter. Men in full military uniforms and sophisticated weapons ran after the Bassa, attacked and killed them.”

“Who are these men? Are they true or fake Nigerian soldiers? These are mercenaries hired by the Egbura to kill the Bassa.”

The Bassa ethnic scribe called on the government to address the issue, and Egbura military uniforms and sophistication.

“The military and other security agencies in Toto LGA should effect free movement of the Bassa in locations such as Umaisha, Ugya, Shafan and Abakpa, Toto where they are stationed to keep peace. In the absence of this, the public will think otherwise,” he added.

Dogwo suggested that all electoral activities or election in Toto LGA should be put on hold until peace, law and order is restored.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram has laid siege on three villages in the outskirt of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, killing six persons and setting the affected villages ablaze.

Confirming the attacks on the three villages in a statement issued yesterday , the North East Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Bashir Garga disclosed that the three villages attacked were Wanori, Kaleri and Amarwa, all in Konduga Local Government Area.

“Suspected Boko Haram insurgents on Wednesday night burnt down three villages in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, in an attack that left six people dead.

“The insurgents attacked and set Wanori, Kaleri and Amarwa villages on fire at about 9p.m,” the statement said.

“Villagers told rescue officials who went on assessment that the insurgents shot indiscriminately, looted food items before setting the villages on fire,” the statement added.

He said the attacks affected over 180 households.

In another development, the Nigerian Army said yesterday two soldiers were killed by an accidental discharge of ammunition during “in-theatre training”.

This is coming as a group, Concerned Professionals’ Congress (CPC), raised an alarm over a plot by unnamed persons to provoke mutiny in the army by sponsoring anti-military sentiments in the public space in a bid to scuttle the war on terror and the coming 2019 elections.

Nigerian Army, in its twitter handle, said yesterday two soldiers of 192 battalion lost their lives as a result of accidental discharge.

“We deeply regret to announce the death of two soldiers of 192 Battalion who lost their lives as a result of an accidental discharge during in-theatre training.

“The Chief of Army Staff has directed the Commander 26 Brigade, Gwoza to immediately constitute a board of inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate situation”, it said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by CPC in Abuja and signed by the National Coordinator, Tukur Musa Tilde and the Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwapa, said that the plot, already under the searchlight of security agencies in the country, is aimed at causing disaffection and disharmony among the troops as well as raise undue fear and apprehension among Nigerians ahead of the forth-coming general elections.

The sponsors of the plot, alleged the group, had laid out elaborate plans to saturate the public space with anti-military rhetoric using pliable foreign media agencies and platforms including human rights organisations with self-acclaimed international clout to demoralize and disorientate the troops, create public fear, undermine the success of the war on terror and ultimately raise doubts about the sustenance of democracy in the country as Nigerians are already in the mood for the forth-coming general elections.

‘’We decided to raise this alarm as a wake-up call to fellow Nigerians to be well aware of this plot and rise against those who are out to cause chaos in our country. This is a clarion call to all compatriots’’, the group said, pointing out however that fortunately, the plot had started to suffer a setback while the sponsors tried unsuccessfully to recruit the local media for the execution of the plot.

‘’We hereby note with satisfaction, the amazing courage, discernment and courage of some top media owners and their organizations who refused to be recruited willy-nilly into this grand evil plot against the country.

‘’We therefore use this medium to warn this band of misguided interests, persons and organisations, for example, a particular international news agency headquartered in London which appears to have sucked into this evil plot against our dear nation to desist henceforth or risk the anger and violence of Nigerians.

‘’For the avoidance of doubt, our courageous and gallant troops attached to Operation Lafiya Dole have decisively mitigated the agony of our brothers and sisters in the northeast traumatised by the activities of Boko Haram Terrorists.

‘’We earnestly advise the sponsors of this anti-military narrative to heed this warning. We refer, in particular to a London-based news agency and others masquerading as human rights advocates to take note of this warning otherwise they will soon begin to taste the collective anger of all Nigerians’’, the statement said.

The group maintained that because of the huge success of the counter-insurgency operations in the north-east, the Nigerian military have earned increasing global applause and support which has gone a long way to boost the morale of the troops.

‘’We must also rally round our defence forces to eliminate the remnant of the terrorists. We must act together because a nation acting together wins a war’’, the group argued.

It expressed confidence in the capacity and readiness of the present Armed Forces led by the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin under whose command Boko Haram’s capacity to launch organised attacks has since been decisively contained with the fall of Sambisa Forest on December 12, 2016.