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FG redeploys troops in Nasarawa to restore order

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has ordered the deployment of soldiers in Nassarawa State to forestall a further breakdown of law and order in the state.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Ibrahim Attahiru, stated this during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that the soldiers numbering less than one thousand had the mandate to support civil authorities  in their efforts to curb the violence.

He stated  that the  soldiers had prevented the crisis between   Eggon   and  Alago youths in  Obi Local Government Area from spreading to other parts of the state.

According to him, the federal  and  Nasarawa State governments were also seeking other ways of resolving the crisis without delay.

He said, 'Due to the heightened security situation in Nasarawa State,  the Federal Government has ordered the deployment of  troops as an aid to civil authority in order to prevent further escalation of the violence and its spread to other parts of the state.

'It is gratifying to note that the deployment of   troops in the violence-prone area has helped in curbing the spread of violence by the Ombatse and other ethnic groups in Nasarawa State.

'The Federal Government and Nasarawa State Government are exploiting ways of ensuring the quick return to normalcy.'

About 30 persons were feared killed in a communal clash between  Eggon  and  Alago youths on Saturday. Some communities  were also  razed down and  several people  rendered homeless.

The  crisis  led to the  evacuation of   corps members from  the crisis-hit communities  to the state capital, Lafia.

The State Director of the National Youth Service Corps in the state, Mrs. Bolanle Olabanji,  had said that 121 out of  the  6,335 corps members who were serving in Obi, Dedere, Tudun-Adabu, Barkin-Kogi, Asakio and  other towns were affected by the crisis.

Prior to the latest crisis,   63 policemen and 10 personnel of the State Security Department  were killed at Alakyo in  Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area of the state.

The  security personnel were on a mission to arrest the leader of the dreaded Ombatse cult,  Ala Agu,  when they were ambushed and  killed on May 7, 2013.

There were reports that two police corporals from the area who were part of the mission leaked information on the mission to the members of the cult who killed them.

Attahiru, who also commented on the ongoing campaign against the Boko Haram insurgents, said some insurgents who were dislodged from their camp at the Kasiya Forest, Ngazai Local Government Area, attacked Benisheik, a town in Kaga Local Government Area of the state, killing 'a lot of civilians.'

He added  that  troops in the Forward Operation Base  killed a top Boko Haram Commander, who is a high-value target,  named, Abba Goroma.

The Army spokesman  said that   a $10 million  bounty was earlier set aside for his capture.

Attahiru said as part of the efforts, the troops in the formation had  conducted operation to pre-empt, dislodge and disrupt the insurgent's activities in the North-East.

According to him, in the process, insurgents' camps located at Kitumari, Alkaderi, Kurunmati, Abali, Gajiram and Iza within the Sambisa Forest in Borno  were destroyed.

He said, 'Other areas where insurgents' camps were attacked, include Bubalin and Ngaram within Maiduguri Metropolis as well as Gulimba Area of Gwoza.

'The division continues to dominate the area through aggressive mobile patrols of highways and major urban centres as part of confidence-building measures to facilitate the quick return to normalcy.

'All these efforts are aimed at denying the terrorists the freedom of action. By and large, military operation within the division's area of responsibility has been largely successful.''

On the soldiers being court-martialled in Jos, Plateau State,  he said the nine soldiers were still being tried.

The director, however, appealed to  journalists  to clarify all reports from the Directorate of Army Public Relations before going to the press.

He said anything contrary to such clarifications from the directorate would be tantamount to giving 'oxygen to terrorism and creating undue fear amongst Nigerians.'