The Nigerian Army has explained the reason troops of the 82 Division stormed the Amangu community in Abia.
In a statement by the Director of the Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu said an explanation was necessary considering the allegations that soldiers went into the community to harass the people of the community.
He said operations conducted in the area were to rescue a soldier, Sgt. Bassey Ikunugwan, who was officially on leave, but abducted on Nov. 2, along Okwu-Ebem Ohafia road in Abia.
According to him, troops on Nov. 3, acting on credible intelligence, embarked on a search and rescue operation at Amangu village and forest, a confirmed enclave of Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network.
Mr Nwachukwu said that troops came in contact with members of the proscribed armed groups during the operation resulting in an exchange of fire.
He noted that another operation on Nov. 4 at Okon Aku led to the killing of one of the criminals and the recovery of one AK 47 rifle with a magazine loaded with seven rounds of 7.62mm (Special) and one mobile phone.
“In a follow-up operation on Nov. 5, troops raided another enclave of the groups around the Amangu village and neutralized two of the criminals, while some fled with gunshot wounds.
“Troops recovered two locally fabricated AK 47 rifles, four Pump Action guns, one locally made Pistol, one Sniper rifle, six magazines, 13 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO), and one motorcycle.
“Other items recovered from the dissidents are two CCTV cameras, one solar panel, flags, one walkie-talkie, two mobile phones, two pamphlets of Biafran anthem, one INEC box, 12 face caps, machetes, pairs of combat boots and pairs of rain boot.
Other items recovered are, camouflage uniforms, one transistor radio, two jungle hats, two knee guards, one power bank, one INEC image-capturing machine, and a PVC.
“Sadly, during these engagements, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice,” he said.
MrNwachukwu said the Nigerian army would leave no stone unturned in the search for the abducted soldier.
He, however, assured that all operations would be conducted within the ambit of the law and in line with global best practices, Rules of Engagement, and Code of Conduct guiding Army operations.
According to him, it should be clear to all that criminal attack and abduction of service personnel is an act against the state which will not go without consequences.
“The recourse to the employment of propaganda by these criminal elements will not deter the Army from carrying out its constitutional mandate.
“Law-abiding citizens of Amangu community are also advised to go about their legitimate businesses without panic, as the military is always on the ground to protect lives and properties,” he said.