The Nigeria Army said on Monday that it withdrew troops from Dapchi, community where over 100 female students of Government Girls’ Science Technical College were kidnapped last Monday, due to operational reasons. A statement signed by the Deputy Director of Public Relations and Spokesman of the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said the withdrawal was purely an operational exigency following attacks in some parts of northern Yobe where the troops were redeployed for reinforcement.
Onyema insisted that the priority of the army is not to join issues with Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, but to correct the misleading comment credited to the Governor. Kebbi State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam had accused army of deliberately exposing the community to Boko Haram attacks by withdrawing troops from the town days before the attack and abduction of the girls.
According to the army spokesman, the comment is not only “unfortunate but far from the truth.” The statement reads: “The attention of Headquarters of Theatre Command, Operations LAFIYA DOLE, has been drawn to a statement credited to His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam, Executive Governor of Yobe State, currently circulating in the media, in which he reportedly alleged that the withdrawal of the military was responsible for the recent suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ attack and abduction of female students from Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi . This allegation is not only unfortunate, but also very far from the truth.
“Although this headquarters will not attempt to join in any blame game, it is very expedient to set the record straight for the benefit of posterity. In carrying out its mandate to counter terrorism and insurgency in North East Nigeria, Operation Lafiya Dole has been alive to its responsibilities vis a vis the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. Several communities and local governments that were hitherto under siege of the insurgents have been liberated and the insurgents pushed out.
While troops continue to trail and decimate the remnants of the insurgents in the hinterlands, the security of the liberated communities and towns fall in the hands of the sister security agencies. The recent dislodgement and further decimation of the insurgents from their enclaves in the Sambisa and the Lake Chad Islands are testimonials to the effective operations of troops against the insurgents.
“Additionally, troops are regularly conducting long range patrols, raids and ambushes to canalise and take out fleeing insurgents. Given all these efforts, it is very astonishing and shocking that such unfortunate comment and allegation is been touted against the loyal and dedicated troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.
“Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian – Nigerien border. This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town. Troops’ redeployment was therefore done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued.
“It is thus obligatory, to state that the allegation reportedly attributed to the Governor of Yobe State is misleading and misinforming. We reiterate our commitment and determination to carrying out our mandate to fight Boko Haram terrorists in the North East. We also implore members of the public to continue to support us with credible information on the whereabouts of the Boko Haram terrorists. We would also like to assure the parents, government and the good people of Yobe State and indeed members of the public that we will not rest on our oars in the search and rescue of the abducted school girls and any other persons held captive by the terrorists.”
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