The Nigerian Army says ESN and IPOB did not kill six of its soldiers and that its troops in Abia are not on a revenge mission.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, in a statement on Monday, said contrary to reports, no soldier was killed in the Ohafia local government area.
Mr Yerima also denied the allegation that residents of Elu, Amangwu, and Amaekpu in Ohafia LGA had embarked on a mass exodus out of fear.
He described the allegation as a baseless fabrication aimed at tarnishing the army’s image and creating distrust between the public and security agents in the state.
According to the army spokesman, the troops only carried out “clearance operations” in the area in line with the rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens.
Mr Yerima further explained that the operation was to restore socio-economic activities disrupted by IPOB and ESN elements who had attacked security agents and destroyed government infrastructure.
According to him, in conjunction with the police and other security agencies leveraging timely and accurate intelligence provided by citizens, the troops are working to restore normalcy to troubled spots and rid the state of criminal elements.
“Consequently, we wish to reassure the good people of Abia of the safety of their lives and property,” he said. “We also urge them to continue to report suspicious movements and activities of strange individuals or groups in their vicinity to the nearest security agency for prompt action.”