Rivers rerun: Army denies killing, ballot snatching

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Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

THE Nigerian Army has described as false the allegation that it was involved in alleged killings, ballot snatching and mass arrest during Saturday’s legislative rerun election.

The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Maj.-Gen. Kasimu Abdulkarim, explained that though soldiers provided security during the exercise, the claims by “some respected politicians” they were involved in unwholesome practices were targeted at tarnishing the image of the Army.

Abdulkarim, in a statement made available to our correspondent on Sunday via electronic mail, maintained that soldiers only provided perimeter defence to ward off hoodlums and miscreants.

He pointed out that the Nigerian Army had acted swiftly by providing aid to the Nigeria Police during the rerun election in response to security breaches in some areas.

“The alleged killing and mass arrest by soldiers in Tai and Gokana LGAs of Rivers State was false.

“These people allegedly accused soldiers of ballot box snatching, illegal escorts of some politicians, arrest and detention of voters during the general conduct of the elections.

“The weighty nature of these allegations could cause members of the public to view soldiers negatively, hence the need to adequately inform the general public on the true perspective.

The public thus need to consider them as mere farce to garner public sympathy.

“The 6 Division, Nigerian Army, remains apolitical in the conduct of the election. Its soldiers provided perimeter defence to ward off hoodlums and miscreants. Nigerian Army troops were in no way involved in any form of ballot box snatching, neither were they involved in the escort of politicians as alleged.

“They (soldiers) acted swiftly in response to security breaches in order to enforce the law, provide aid to the Nigeria Police and other security agencies especially in areas like Abonema, Etche, Gokana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku amongst others,” the statement read.

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