Five soldiers ‘arrested’ for gang-raping student

ARMY: Nigerian Soldiers (Army) on duty. [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian]
Nigerian Soldiers on duty. [PHOTO CREDIT: The Guardian]

The 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigeria Army in Akure says it has arrested soldiers accused of gang-raping a 300-level student of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko.

The brigade had initially denied the story and evaded the media, but apparently bowed to pressure from the university amid media reports.

The student who is of the Department of Religious and African Studies of the university was reportedly raped by the soldiers on Wednesday, at an army checkpoint located on Ikare Akoko road.

The student was allegedly forced to alight from a commercial bus by one of the soldiers, lance corporal, who ordered the driver and other passengers to leave.

She was then taken into a military cubicle at the back of checkpoint, where she was allegedly assaulted sexually.

She was returning from the school campus on her way home, along with her other school mates when she was attacked.

When contacted on Friday, the Brigade Commander, Zakari Abubakar, confirmed the arrest of the soldiers and said the brigade had commenced investigation into the matter.

“It is very true that they (the soldiers) have been arrested. We have commenced our investigation,” he said.

Mr Abubakar, while responding to the incident when the news first reached him on Wednesday, had said the soldiers would not engage in such acts, warning that the allegation might be a ploy to weaken the army’s resolve to weed the area of kidnappers.

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The management of the AAUA has responded to the development, saying the matter was being investigated.

The university, however, noted that the victim had not officially reported the matter to the management for proper action.

The head of the Media and Protocol Unit of the AAUA, Victor Akinpelumi, reiterated that the institution had already taken steps to investigate the incident.

“The victim has not officially reported the matter to the school authorities,” he said.

“But this is a matter that concerns one of our students and we have taken steps.

“The university has set up a committee to investigate the incident and the committee would submit its report in a few days.

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“I believe during the course of the investigation by the committee, the lady would be invited for questioning while many other people believed to know one thing or the other about the incident, would be interrogated by the committee.

“So the report of the committee would reveal everything that happened.”

The matter was first reported at a police station in Ikare on Wednesday, but no serious action was taken.

The police spokesman for the state command, Femi Joseph, was later quoted as saying that the command was not aware of the incident.

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