Following a clash between rival groups suspected to be cultists at Kara in the Isheri area of Ogun state on Tuesday, there were reports that soldiers attached to OP MESA shot three locals dead. This is not true–the authority of 81 Division Nigerian Army said.
Some witnesses in the neighbourhood spoken to have also confirmed this.
First off, the soldiers didn’t leave their duty post as reported by some newspapers which quoted the Ogun Command of the Nigerian police. The reports further said the soldiers used his bayonet to kill one of those they shot undergoing treatment in the hospital.
It was the cult clash, one Mr Babs told the National Daily, that brought the soldiers—on the invitation of some community leaders–to help them quell the riot.
“I learnt the soldiers didn’t stay more than 10 minutes before they left since the fight was getting worse. I later learnt one of the soldiers was attacked with a cutlass,” he added.
When asked if any of the soldiers fired a gun or killed anybody, Babs explained: “They didn’t fire a single gun that I know and didn’t kill anybody. I was told a soldier was wounded.”
Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 81 Division, Lt Col Olaolu Daudu also insisted the army didn’t kill any member of Kara community as reported by some media organisations.
“The 81 Division hereby states that the patrol team in response to a distress call, made a prompt intervention to forestall a bloody clash among the “Isheri boys” who are allegedly referred to as a dangerous cult group terrorizing the community.”
He further explained that “there was no firing or exchange of fire between the troops and the alleged cult group throughout the period of the troops’ intervention.
“However, one of our soldiers got a deep cut on the head, arising from the troops’ efforts to avert lethal conflict in the community.”
Daudu added that as a result of the injury, the wounded soldier was evacuated to Gentalbert Hospital for first aid treatment from where he was subsequently transferred to the Military Hospital where he is responding to treatment at the moment.
He pointed out that peace has since been restored to the affected area. This was also collaborated by some indigenes spoken to.
Lt Col Daudu urged members of the public to disregard the news about the killing of three people in the area, adding “the news is baseless and is therefore fake.”
He assured that the General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Olu Irefin has reiterated his commitment to “protect life and properties of all law abiding citizens of the State and environs while urging the people to continue with their legitimate routine activities unhindered.