Nigerian Army denies kidnapping and murdering pastor in Rivers state

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– The Nigerian Army has said it never kidnapped and killed an innocent as was claimed in a recent investigative report

– Army spokesman Kukasheka said the Army carried out a raid of a militant hideout and later discovered that a cleric who had disappeared earlier was one of those killed

Nigerian Army

Col. Sani Usman Kukasheka

The Nigerian Army has denied reports that it kidnapped and killed a Christian cleric in Rivers state.

In a statement released on Tuesday, November 22, Army acting spokesman Col. Usman Sani Kukasheka described the report which was a result of an investigation by an online media outfit (not as an ‘obvious mischief’ aimed at “denigrating the Nigerian Army and tarnish its image”.

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The Army also condemned “attempt to portray the Nigerian Army in bad light by labelling it killer of a pastor and manipulation of information”.

The Nigerian Army did not kill the pastor as alleged, rather, he was killed by his captors who realized that troops were closing on them during precursor to Exercise CROCODILE SMILE.

“It is therefore very mischievous for anyone to ascribe his death to the troops.

“The Nigerian Army is a thorough professional organization with clearly stipulated rules of engagement which is being followed to the letter in any given operation or exercise.

For the avoidance of doubt, based on information received, a raid was carried out on a suspected militant camp in Mbelekuru Creek, Ogbogoro Community of Obiakpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on 26th August 2016. During the raid, 5 suspected militants were killed, 23 of them were arrested and 11 Pump Action Rifles, 2 AK-47 Rifles, 1 Locally Made Revolver Pistol, 292 Cartridges, 99 Rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 1 AK-47 magazine loaded with 28 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 3 Power generating sets, 1 camp Gas cooker, 2 shovels, 3 Cutlasses, 1 rain boat, 1 handbag containing 2 mobile telephone handsets, 1 wristwatch, a photograph, 11 mobile telephone handsets, 3 INEC voters cards, 2 SIM cards and 1 memory card were recovered.

“It is therefore unimaginable for the troops to kill an innocent person.”

The Army however, admitted that after the operation, it did receive a report from a female serving Nigerian Air Force officer that her relative whom she identified as Andrew Anthony, a pastor of a church was killed during the raid and that he was not a militant.

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The Army added: “Contrary to insinuations…, other family members confirmed that they never reported the kidnapping of Mr. Andrew to the police. Rather, they were negotiating with the kidnappers on their own without recourse to any security agency before the raid on the militants’ camp.”

The Army said the Headquarters 2 Brigade Nigerian Army has supported the family by linking them up with youth leaders that assisted in identifying and retrieving the corpse of the late pastor.

Meanwhile, in the continuing war against insurgency in the northeast, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, has reportedly declared 50 top members of Boko Haram fighters wanted.

This is in addition to those declared wanted previously. The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, had in October, 2015 declared 100 members of the Boko Haram insurgents wanted.

The post Nigerian Army denies kidnapping and murdering pastor in Rivers state appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read 24/7.

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