The task force said it was the IED and not its members that burnt houses and other property of civilians.
The Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Restore Order, in Maiduguri on Tuesday made desperate attempts to deny that it extra-judicially killed scores of innocent Nigerians in the Borno capital on Monday.
In two separate statements (statement1 | statement2), within 20 minutes, the JTF spokesperson, Sagir Musa, claimed that because there has been no “established or recorded case of extra judicial killing, torture, arson or arbitrary arrest by the JTF in Borno state”, its officers could not have been involved in extra judicial killings.
Mr. Musa admitted that members of the JTF had been engaged in unprofessional conducts in the past, He, however, said those cases were documented.
On Monday, the JTF was reported to have killed over 30 civilians and burnt over 50 houses because a Lieutenant and some officers reportedly died after an Improvised Explosive Device, IED, planted on their route exploded. The task force in its statement said “the attack led to the death of an officer and two soldiers with others severely injured.”
We did not burn houses, blame IEDs
The task force used the second statement to dissociate itself from the burning of houses and other property which occurred along Lagos Street in Maiduguri and also explain possible causes for the burnt property.
Mr. Musa said the IEDs contain “acid and highly inflammable substances that propagate blasts and thermal effects which set houses and shops around the vicinity on fire.”
He claimed that it was the effect of the blasts that wreaked the Monday havoc in the state as opposed to media reports which puts the blame on the JTF.
Several houses, cars, and shops were burnt in an attack residents and eye witnesses said was carried out by men of the JTF
Our concern is the IED
The task force spokesman said the “major concern of the JTF in Maiduguri is the planting of IEDs on roads which have resulted in the death of some of our troops and many civilians.”
“It should be noted that the JTF has lost some of its personnel to adversary’s action through roadside IEDs and gun fire attacks from residential areas, trees and roof tops during patrols,” Mr. Musa said.
He accused the Boko Haram sect of asking residents to vacate their houses for what they call “Gods work” adding that such threats always result in mass exodus of people out of their residences for fear of terrorist attacks.
We never killed civilians
The JTF also said the relative peace being enjoyed in Borno is down to the effort of its officials, and that often times “terrorists killed were during gun battles with the JTF troops.”
Mr. Musa said soldiers made a lot of sacrifice to keep Maiduguri safe from the insurgents.
“Arrests and seizures made are always displayed at JTF HQs for the press to see and to understand the enormity of what the troops are facing and the sacrifices made daily to keep the state safe,” he said.
He said killing of civilians are done by sect members, citing the example of “two Chinese construction workers who were killed on Sunday 7 October 2012 at Gubio about 80 kilometers from Maiduguri by the sect assassin squad.”
Mr. Musa’s statement confirms PREMIUM TIMES report http://www.premiumtimesng.com/