Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Niger killings: Soldiers killed innocent villagers, not bandits – Sen. Umaru

The senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, David Umaru, has faulted the position of the GOC One Mechanized Division that those killed by the military in Kpaidna, Legbe-dagma, Bambe, Kopa and Lunku villages of Bosso local government area of Niger State were bandits.
He stated that the soldiers were still killing the innocent villagers up until yesterday morning by tracing them to the place where they took refuge with their relations in Kpagungu, a street in Minna.
He described the soldiers’ action as an aberration to the constitutional and operational role for the military.
He said, “We will not continue to see the continuation of these killings. These killings must stop. It is not true that the operation was a joint one because the police were not part of it; it was an invasion of the villages by the soldiers.
“If the police were part of the operation, why are the suspects taken to the barracks? Why were the casualties killed soldiers and not policemen.”
According to the senator, “It is either the GOC was misinformed or he was economical with the truth. I was in discussion with the police and the assertion that it was a joint operation cannot be true.
“If it was joint operation, why detain them in the barracks; it is the police that have the power of prosecution, not the military.”
The senator called on the military to release the about 60 villagers taken to the barracks and hand them over to the police for investigation and prosecution.
“You don’t declare people guilty until a court does. Now they referring to the innocent villagers as bandits. We are concerned; we want the proper thing to be done: hand over those taken to the barracks to the police for investigation,” he said.
Senator Umaru also called for proper investigation into the incidence through a high-powered judicial commission to be empaneled to look into it.
It would be recalled that the GOC One Mechanised Division, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, had during his visit to the 31 Artillery Brigade on Sunday defended the operation of the military in the villages while referring to the villagers arrested by the military as bandits.
He had declared that eleven military men had been killed by bandits and gunrunners in the areas the military raided and that various arms and ammunition had been recovered, in addition to the killing of seven suspected bandits and the arrest of 57 others.

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