Don’t blame Baga killings on us — Army

 
The authorities of the Defence Headquarters have said the army was not involved in the massacre of over 150 persons in Baga, Borno State.
 
The Director of Defence Information, Brig.Gen Chris Olukolade, also said in an electronic mail on Saturday no soldier had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Olukolade condemned attempts by some persons to blame the Baga killings on soldiers of the Multinational Joint Task Force.
 
He said it was absurd to blame acts committed by suspected Boko Haram members on troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force sent to keep peace in the area.
 
The defence spokesman also condemned moves in some quarters to use the media to whip up public sentiments against the Joint Task Force.
 
He maintained that the operations of the troops were necessary to provide security and defend the integrity of the country.
 
Olukolade said, “The Defence Headquarters wishes to declare that no soldier has been arrested or detained on account of the incident that happened in Baga last week as reported in certain newspapers on Saturday.
 
“The report which claimed that 15 soldiers have been arrested in connection with their alleged role in what the medium referred to as ‘Borno Bloodbath’ is indeed false in its entirety.
 
“At no point did the DHQ or any of the services of the Nigerian Armed Forces order the arrest of any of its soldiers in connection with the incident in Baga.
 
“The untiring efforts by some persons and groups to unduly attribute the killings in Baga to the troops of the Multi National Joint Task Force are however assuming a very unfair and dangerous dimension indeed.
 
“It is surprising that the atrocities of Boko Haram terrorists are being desperately blamed on the troops even without any meaningful investigations by those promoting these allegations locally and internationally.
 
“This tendency is clearly in line with the orchestrated effort by a vested interest, using the press, to whip up public resentment against the necessary military operations in defence and security of the nation.”
 
He said further that it was the position of the DHQ that human lives were precious during operations and shouldn’t be subjected to “unneccesary sensationalism.”
 
A clash between gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members and the military left many dead in Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area, Borno State, on April 20, 2013.
 
While the Village Head, Mallam Ali, said 185 were killed, with 2,000 houses, 62 vehicles and 486 motorcycles either burnt or vandalised, the Presidency, however, said it believed the figures might have been “grossly exaggerated.”
 
Authorities of the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, had earlier put the casualty figure at 25.
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