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Army denies complicity in Jos killings, says Jang is naive

The Nigerian Army has denied complicity in last Sunday’s attacks on three communities of Dogo Nauwa, Ratsat and Jot in Shen Village of Jos South Local Government Area.

The Director of Information of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in an electronic mail on Wednesday that the statement attributed to Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang, was embarrassing and unfortunate.

He also described the allegation as a deliberate act of blackmail and smear campaign against the Army.

Olukolade said that the scathing accusation made by the governor against the Army, which has been charge of security following the violent crisis in Jos in January, showed that he displayed “an embarrassing naivety in interpreting the dynamics of land operations.”

Jang had on Tuesday accused the Army of complicity in the gruesome murder of about 500 people in the three villages when he said in Abuja that the Army Commanders did not act on intelligence reports he personally gave to them hours before the savagery.The Army spokesman accused the governor of a deliberate intent to rubbish the image of the Army because of what he described as the inordinate partisan nature of Jang.He said that the allegation against the Army was out of place as the maintenance of security in Jos was not the exclusive responsibility of the Army.

According to Olukolade, security maintenance in Jos was a joint military operation involving the Armed Forces, the State Security Service, the Nigeria Police and others.He wondered why Jang decided to make the Army the target of his allegations.

He said, “The Nigerian Army (NA) has noted with serious concern a statement made by the Governor of Plateau State, His Excellency, Mr. Jonah Jang, to the effect that last Sunday’s killings in the Jos South Local Government Area of the state could have been averted if the Army had acted on the early intelligence report he provided.

“Coming from a Chief Executive and Chief Security Officer of a State with substantial military background, it is unfortunate that Air Commodore David Jang (rtd) has demonstrated an embarrassing naivety in interpreting the dynamics of land operations.

“The governor would have spared the nation his unfortunate remarks if only he consulted sufficiently before making his inciting declaration.

“It is common knowledge that the internal security operation in Jos, Plateau State is a joint military operation involving the various services and the Nigeria Police Force.

“This situation arose when the police could not cope at the onset of the Jos crisis in January 2010 and the military was legally drafted to restore law and order in Plateau State.”jos_crisis_c03-10

“The operation now involves personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police and the State Security Service among others. It is therefore unfortunate that Governor Jang’s spurious claims were specifically targeted at tarnishing the good image of the Army.”

Olukolade said that while the Army would come out with an appropriate response on the weighty allegation, it had become pertinent to debunk the claim before the people.

He said that if Jang had visited the appropriate authorities before making his comments, he would have spared the nation the current embarrassment, as the Army was known to have established a strong image during internal security operations and international peacekeeping operations.

He added, “Although the Army is briefing appropriate authorities on its operations and believes that appropriate response to Governor Jang’s attack on the Army is forthcoming, it is necessary to reassure Nigerians that the Army is not involved in any complicity as suggested by Governor Jang through his numerous channels for blackmail.

“The Army will continue to make its vital input into the ongoing joint operations of the Special Task Force as duly mandated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The Punch

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