Controversy has continued to trail the death of six persons whose bullet-ridden corpse where found dumped in Yelwa, a Mubi suburb, on Tuesday, with the Army distancing itself from the killings.
The death of the six persons, suspected to be members of the extremist Boko Haram sect, sparked protest by youths and some close relatives of the deceased, who accused the military of extra-judicially killing innocent citizens.
Some residents of Mubi had also told Premium Times Wednesday that the men were killed by men of the Nigerian army on patrol.
But the Army spokesperson for the 23rd Armoured Brigade, Lieutenant Victor Olukoya, has denied the involvement of the military in the Mubi killings.
He said instead it was the army which was at the receiving end of a reprisal which led to the death of a soldier and three others who sustained severe injuries, receiving medical attention in the hospital.
“We will never kill people just like that, and dump their corpses in the streets, it doesn’t make sense. We are here to protect innocent citizens so it is very unfair for anyone to think we would just start killing these same people we are protecting,” Mr. Olukoya said.
“I can assure you the army would not carry out any extra judicial killing, in the first place these soldiers wouldn’t have left the barracks if the city was safe and conflict free,” he further said, maintaining that the manner and style of the Mubi operation is alien to the army.
On the morning of the attacks, Mr. Olukoya said, while soldiers were patrolling Mubi town, an Improvised Explosive Device was targeted at a military patrol van, followed by gunfire which the army swiftly responded to, but lost a soldier, while three others sustained severe injuries.
“At the scene of the encounter we discovered three corpses most probably belonging to the assailants, just as we recovered two AK47 rifles, five magazines containing 90 rounds of 7.62MM special,” he said.
However, Thursday’s denial by the 23rd Armoured division of not carrying out the Mubi operation only lent credence to information earlier obtained by Premium Times that the killings were possibly carried out by men of the joint task force who trailed the six deceased to their Mubi hideout, and killed them in a gun duel.
Some members of the gang were alleged to have been taken back to Maiduguri to help with information that would lead to further clamp down on other members of the notorious Islamic sect.
However, some youths of Yelwa and relatives of some of those killed stormed the palace of the Emir of Mubi protesting the killings and accusing the Emir of nonchalance to the plights of his subjects.
The JTF’s decision to descend on Mubi and clamp down on suspected sect members, Premium Times learnt, followed intelligence that that some kingpins of the sect had moved in droves from Maiduguri to the town after the military gave them a chase.
Meanwhile, a military source in Mubi has told Premium Times the military lost four men to the Tuesday attacks. The disclosure may have strenghtened the widely held suspicion that the military had been economical with with the truth regarding casualty figures on its side in the fight against terrorist and insurgent groups.
The admission by the seething soldier however appears a Freudian slip, as he raged over media reports he described as skewed against the military.
“Four of our colleagues lost their lives in Mubi, where their patrol van was targeted by some groups,” he said.
He added that he had personally been away from his family for the past three Month “because of the tour of duty and angered that the immense sacrifice being made by the military in the fight against terrorist insurgents, is not been acknowledged.”
The soldier, who laid bare his mind on the Boko Haram insurgency, blamed politicians and high ranking government officials for being behind the festering Boko Haram insurgency, and said if “the military is given a free-hand to perform their duties, we will curtail the insecurity challenge by mopping up the arms stockpiled by militant groups.”
A statement by the Adamawa police command, through its spokesperson, Altine Daniel, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said frantic efforts were being made by the security operatives in the state to guarantee the safety of lives and properties of all residents in the state, against further “attacks by the Boko Haram sect”.