Army denies allegations of assault on women in Rivers
The Nigerian Army on Saturday denied allegations that its troops assaulted some women during the ongoing operations in Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas of Rivers.
Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, made the denial while reacting to an online report which accused troops from the Division of battering women in the council areas.
“The attention of 6 Division of Nigerian Army has been drawn to a malicious publication in some online media on the purported molestation of some women in Ogoniland by some recently deployed soldiers.
“This publication is totally false, mischievous and a failed and unsubstantiated attempt by some cultists and other criminal elements in Ogoniland to cry wolf where there is actually none.
“This baseless story is a calculated and failed attempt to distract and force the withdrawal of troops from carrying out their duties which involved patrols and other operational activities.
“Our constant patrols in the areas have effectively checkmated and denied criminals freedom to carry out their nefarious activities while assisting in restoring peace and security to the troubled areas,” he said.
Iliyasu said the Army had on March 6, after a stakeholders meeting which had in attendance paramount rulers, community leaders and other security agencies, resolved to send troops to the areas.
He said that part of the agreement reached at the meeting was to restrict movement of residents from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in order to end the incessant cult clashes and killings in the areas.
According to him, the timing was chosen because that was the period when criminal cult groups perpetrate their nefarious activities and unleash terror on innocent citizens.
Illiyasu said that pictures uploaded by the online media to buttress their claim contradicted the information depicted on the alleged pictures.
“The enemies of the Ogoni people shamelessly tried to buttress their claims with old pictures of women with placards not minding the fact that the messages on the placards are different.
“The authorities of the 6 Division warn enemies of Ogoni people to change their cause or they will be made to face the wrath of the law.
“We assure residents in the areas of their safety and security while they go about their legitimate business without any fear of intimidation or molestation,’’ he said.
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