Army reacts to death of Rivers state pastor

The Nigerian Army has reacted to an online publication where it was alleged soldiers killed a pastor and labelled him a militant.

Its spokesman,  Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman , said the Nigerian Army was a “thorough professional organization with clearly stipulated rules of engagement which are being followed to the letter in any given operation or exercise.”

He explained that “a raid was carried out on a suspected militant camp in Mbelekuru Creek, Ogbogoro Community of Obiakpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on 26th August.

During the raid, 5 suspected militants were killed, 23 of them were arrested  and 11 Pump Action Rifles, 2 AK-47 Rifles, 1 Locally  Made Revolver Pistol,” among other items were recovered.

“Days later, a female serving Nigerian Air Force officer reported that her relative whom she identified as Mr.  Andrew Anthony, a pastor of a church was killed during the raid and that he was not a militant.

Contrary to insinuations by the medium, other family members  confirmed that they never reported the kidnapping of Mr. Andrew  to the police. Rather, they were negotiating with the kidnappers on their own without recourse to any security agency before the raid on the militants camp.

The Nigerian Army did not release the photograph of the victim nor referred to him as a militant. “

He concluded by saying that “the Headquarters 2 Brigade Nigerian Army also supported the family by linking them up with youth leaders that assisted in identifying and retrieving the corpse of the late pastor.

The attempt to portray the Nigerian Army in bad light by labelling it killer of a pastor and manipulation of information by the Premium Times is totally unacceptable.

The public is therefore enjoined to disregard the publication in its entirety as it is an attempt to blackmail the Nigerian Army and destroy its hard earned reputation, more so as further investigation has been directed by the Chief of Army Staff on the issue. “