The Nigerian Army has denied allegations of intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes and killings leveled against it during the Rivers state re-run elections which took place on Saturday.
The General Officer Commanding 6 division, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, said the alleged killing and mass arrest by soldiers in Tai and Gokana local government areas of the state were not only false but a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the army as well as wipe public sentiment.
The GOC who spoke in the early hours of Sunday, noted that although his soldiers provided perimeter defense to ward off armed hoodlums and miscreants, the Nigerian Army remained apolitical.
The Major General said there were three explosions in Bedlam in Abonema, five NYSC members were abducted and rescued while two police officers were killed, among which was a senior officer who was beheaded.
According to him, “Nigerian army troops were in no way involved in the escort of politicians as alleged.
“They acted swiftly in response to security breaches in order to enforce the law, provide aid to the Nigerian police and other security agencies especially in areas like Abonema, Etche, Gokana, Ikwere, Eleme, Tai, Khana and Omoku amongst others.
“Susceptibility of mentioned areas warranted providing security for the electoral officials, voters, international and local observers, in conjunction with other security agencies by soldiers for a peaceful election to thrive in the environment.
“These areas were rift with armed men who engaged security personnel. In gokana, armed hoodlums engaged the soldiers providing outer perimeter defense for the electorates”
The GOC went further to explain that “at Emohua, Mr Oblewaremu abducted five NYSC members with election materials in a Siena bus. The corps members were later rescued and the suspect handed over to the police.
“Nigerian army as a respected institution with constitutional responsibilities to safeguard lives and property,” he stated.