We are not involved in any mass ķilling in the South-East — Nigerian Army tackles Simon Ekpa

The Nigerian Army (NA) has denied allegation of mass killing in the South Eastern Nigeria, as alleged by Simon Ekpa, a self acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Nwachukwu said that Ekpa, one of the leaders of the IPOB terrorists had been carrying out mischievous and systematic campaign of calumny against the army.

He said that Ekpa had through spurious and unfounded claims, raised alarm in a viral video alleging that troops of Nigerian army were carrying out mass killing of innocent Igbos and dumping them in the river.

According to him, the report also contained some unimaginable and not well couched falsehood targeted at whipping-up negative sentiments against troops and inciting anarchy in the South East region.

“Contrary to the falsehood being spread from the devious propaganda machinery of the desperate and self-serving terrorists’ leader, the army wishes to state that it has conducted a comprehensive investigation on the allegations made by the devious infamous leader and his associates.

“Accordingly, we wish to categorically refute these baseless claims by throwing more light on the occurrence.

“In the first instance, the troops in the video footage are not personnel of the Nigerian Army as the insignia visible on their berets clearly identifies them as personnel of the Nigerian Navy, who were engaged in a routine test firing of a weapon system mounted on a vehicle.

“In order to ensure safety of other road users and commuters, the troops took precautionary measures by halting vehicular movement along the road, until the test firing was safely concluded.

“Observers were also kept at a safe distance, maintaining transparency and prioritizing the safety of all involved,” he explained.

Nwachukwu said that preliminary findings also indicated that the occurrence took place in the South West region of the country and not the South East as advertently portrayed by the alarmist propagandists.

He added that there was no evidence to support the assertion that individuals were being shot at in the river, nor had there been any report from local communities regarding the discovery of corpses in the area.

“Consequently, the army wishes to enjoin the public to disregard the unfounded claims and irredeemable falsehood being propagated by Simon Ekpa and his associates, whose apparent objective is to disseminate misinformation and incite unrest,” he added.

Nwachukwu said the army and indeed, sister services and other security agencies remained steadfast in their commitment to maintaining peace and order, ensuring safety and security of all citizens in the country.

According to him, the Nigerian army is vigilant and prepared to counter any attempt to destabilize the southeast region.

“We reaffirm our dedication to protecting the lives and livelihoods of all Nigerians and will continue to work tirelessly to uphold peace and order.

“We encourage the public to seek verified information and not be misled by those who aim to incite violence and disorder.

“We salute the courage and patriotism of well-meaning and law-abiding ndigbo, domiciled in the South East and across the nation.

“Despite the brazen atrocities and threats being perpetrated by Ekpa and his terrorists group, these patriotic Igbos have continued to build bridges of peace and harmony across the country and promoting our national ideal of a united Nigeria.

“The Nigerian army remains a pillar of stability and security, committed to the well-being of the nation and her people,” he said. (NAN)

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