The Defence Headquarters has denied media reports that soldiers killed four persons and their bodies dumped in a pond in Jos during a clampdown on looters of private properties in the state. The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement yesterday, described the reports as malicious and mischievous.
Enenche explained that the soldiers attached to the Special Task Force (STF), Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), were never engaged in any professional misconduct in preventing criminals from perpetrating crimes in the state.
He said: “The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to an online Vanguard publication of October 30, 2020 (5.43pm) with the above caption, (story by Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos).
“In the said publication, the writer reported that some residents of Gwafan village in Jos North Local Government Area, claimed that soldiers attached to the Special Task (STF) Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), killed four members of the community and dumped their bodies in surrounding dams in the area during an attempt to stop hoodlums from looting the residence of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.
“For the records, on Sunday October 25, 2020, hoodlums and vandals invaded the private property of the former Speaker at Lamingo, with a view to looting it. Consequently, troops of the STF, OPSH, which is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace and tranquility in Plateau State and environs, were immediately deployed to bring the situation under control.”
“Guided by extant Rules of Engagement and Standing Operating Procedures for such situations, the highly professional troops arrived at the residence and apprehended a total number of 30 looters. Additionally, a total of 114 hoodlums comprising 21 females and 93 males were apprehended for looting. Recall that Headquarters Operation Safe Haven paraded the suspects before the press, and this was widely reported in various mainstream and online media.
“It is worthy to mention that the timely intervention of our troops at the residence of the former Speaker ensured that the situation was nipped in the bud. Thus, the story is a malicious and mischievous publication against the Nigerian Military and Operation Safe Haven in particular, that has commendably fostered peace in Plateau State…
“… Members of the general public are assured of their safety and are encouraged to go about their lawful activities without any fear. Additionally, it is always advisable for media organisations to verify their facts before rushing to publish untrue and unverified stories.”