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Army admits withdrawing troops before girls’ abduction

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The Nigerian Army through the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, the military’s anti-insurgency command in the North-East, on Monday, admitted that troops were redeployed from the Dapchi area before the abduction of the schoolgirls.

It added   that the army “handed over the security of the area to the Nigeria Police Division.”

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations and the Theatre Command’s spokesperson, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the military should not be blamed for the abduction of the schoolgirls as the troops handed over a “peaceful and calm situation” to the police.
 
Nwachukwu said the troops were redeployed in Kanama, on the Nigeria-Niger Republic border, to combat Boko Haram terrorists who were attacking a military location in the area.

The army spokesman said the military would not engage in a blame game with the Yobe State Government as it was making “efforts to rescue the abducted schoolgirls.”

Nwachukwu said, “Although this headquarters will not attempt to join in any blame game, it is to set the record straight. Several communities and local government areas that were hitherto under siege of the insurgents have been liberated and the insurgents pushed out. While troops continue to decimate the insurgents in the hinterlands, the security of the liberated communities and towns falls in the hands of the sister security agencies.

“Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops in Kanama area following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian-Niger Republic border. This was on the premise that Dapchi had been relatively calm and peaceful; and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the police division located in the town. Troops’ redeployment was therefore done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued.

“We will also like to assure the parents, government and the people of Yobe that we will not rest on our laurels in the search and rescue of the abducted schoolgirls and any other persons held captive by the terrorists.”

The Yobe State Commissioner of Police, Sumonu Abdulmaliki, however, said there was no time the military handed over Dapchi town to the police.

He explained that Yobe was a security emergency state being monitored by security agencies.

Abdulmaliki, in a statement he personally signed, said the military neither handed over any location to the police nor informed it of its withdrawal from any area.

He said, “The attention of the Yobe State Police Command has been drawn to a statement that… the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to a police division located in the town.

 “The statement by the military… is not correct, as there was no time that the military informed the police of its withdrawal or handed over its locations in Dapchi town to the police.

“The whole of Yobe State is still under security emergency with the police, the military and other security agencies battling to ensure a lasting peace.”

Punch

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