The Nigerian Army on Saturday described as falsehood a report that some of its recently deployed soldiers molested some women during the ongoing operations in Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas of Rivers.
The denial was made in a statement issued by Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, who said that the allegation was totally mischievous and false.
The denial followed an online report which accused troops from the Division of battering women in the council areas.
He said: “The attention of 6 Division of Nigerian Army has been drawn to a malicious publication in some online media on the purported molestation of some women in Ogoniland by some recently deployed soldiers.
“This publication is totally false, mischievous and a failed and unsubstantiated attempt by some cultists and other criminal elements in Ogoniland to cry wolf where there is actually none.
“This baseless story is a calculated and failed attempt to distract and force the withdrawal of troops from carrying out their duties which involved patrols and other operational activities.
“Our constant patrols in the areas have effectively checkmated and denied criminals freedom to carry out their nefarious activities while assisting in restoring peace and security to the troubled areas.”
Iliyasu recalled that, due to the incessant cult killings in Ogoniland, a stakeholders’ meeting was convened on 6 March 2017 with all the stakeholders including paramount rulers and security agencies.
“Part of the solution by the community leaders was the restriction of movement of everyone between 7:00pm to 6:00am, which is the period when these criminal cult groups perpetrate their nefarious activities and unleash terror on innocent citizens.”
“This decision has definitely not gone down well with enemies of the Ogoni people, hence their resort to blackmailing the troops with a false story line, which they shamelessly tried to buttress with old pictures of women with placards.”
“This is their not minding the fact that the messages on the placards are not related to the claim of molestation of women as portrayed in their false story,” he added.