The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has denied media report that troops of the Nigerian Army shot and killed many people protesting the renewed killings in Zamfara State on Tuesday.
A statement signed on Wednesday, by the Minister’s Public Relations Officer, Tukur Gusau, insisted that even as troops intervened to quell the protest, no life was lost or any injury recorded.
According to him, it was “preposterous for anyone to allege shooting at the protesters by the troops of the Nigerian Army.”
The minister, to this end, enjoined the general public to disregard and ignore such “unfounded allegation as it is not true.”
In the statement tagged: “Re: Shocking video! Army massacre protesters against killings in Zamfara”, the Ministry of Defence gave its account of the Zamfara incidence, saying: “This is out-right false, as no protester was shot let alone anyone losing his life during the unfortunate protest in Tsafe, Zamfara State yesterday.”
“It is really shocking and utterly ridiculous for any medium to base its story on hearsay and conjectures of a video clip by a renowned serial liar as was the case in the quoted story,” Mr Tukur noted.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the fact of the matter was that, on Monday December 24, at about 6.35am, the troops deployed at Tsafe Nigerian Army Forward Operating Base, FOB, received a report of protest action by some suspected Internal Displaced Persons, IDPs, mostly from Asola village in Tsafe Local Government Area,” he explained.
He said “the protesters were allegedly protesting against the security situation in their areas and lack of care.
“They were initially cautioned by the Emir of Tsafe on the protest action, but they were adamant and continued with the protest.”
He added that the protesters were however joined by youths mostly identified as Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, in the area.
“The CJTF armed with Dane guns, clubs and other dangerous objects, attempted to attack the Divisional Police Station office, Tsafe, but were stopped by the police on duty.
“The protesters later moved to the streets, blocking Tsafe-Gusau highway, burning tyres and setting Tsafe LGA Secretariat ablaze, destroying some vehicles parked at the Secretariat,” he said.
“The protesters destroyed Administration offices, files, office equipments and other valuable items. It was in that process that the troops intervened,” Mr Tukur stated.
“Indeed, no life was lost and no injuries were recorded,” he affirmed.
It is therefore preposterous for anyone to allege shooting at the protesters by the troops of the Nigerian Army as normalcy has since been restored in the affected areas.
“We therefore enjoin the general public to disregard and ignore such unfounded allegation as it is not true.
“Consequently, we call on the management of elombah.com to retract the unfounded allegations and tender an unreserved apology to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and indeed the Nigerian public for the misleading publication,” he urged.