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Friday, 16 May 2014

Mutiny: Army Redeploys GOC 7 Division Maiduguri


The military explained yesterday the shooting at the Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri, the troubled Borno State capital.
It denied that Maiduguri had become a boiling point as a result of insurrection by troops.
Some soldiers of the 7 Division in the city on Wednesday fired shots as the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major. Gen. Ahmed Muhammed was addressing the troops.
The GOC has been redeployed.
The Defence Headquarters issued a statement in Abuja signed by Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, the Defence spokesman, who also addressed reporters in Maiduguri.
The statement said: “Four soldiers, however, lost their lives during the ambush.
“On evacuation of the remains of the fallen troops, the General Officer Commanding addressed the troops who registered their anger about the incident by firing into the air,” it said.
The statement explained that the situation had since been brought under control.
It said that the 7 Division of the Army would institute a military board of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the conduct of soldiers who fired some shots.
Speaking to reporters in Maiduguri, Gen.  Olukolade said that “the commanding officer of the 101 Battalion had actually gone to Abuja for a course and could not have deliberately refused to pay their allowances”.
“The General Officer Commanding (GOC) was touched by the incident, so he wanted to sympathise with the troops by addressing those present;
in the process, some soldiers became unruly and began to fire some shots into the air.
“The situation was quickly brought under control and normalcy restored as there was calm in the cantonment and all normal operational activities are ongoing.”
He added that “the inquiry will come out with exact situation of things based on which the military authorities will take next action.’’
He added: “The GOC has been redeployed based on the decision of the headquarters.’
“The GOC or his aides were not wounded during the incident.  “Let me say again that nobody was injured. ”
Gen Olukolade promised that the redeployment of the GOC would not affect the ongoing anti-terrorism war of the Nigerian military.  “Let me assure that the military will sustain the current tempo in the fight against insurgents.
“The training of the Nigeria Army is such that this kind of change will not affect negatively the disposition of the troops in the fight against agents of insurgency in the country.
“The Nigerian Army is poised to uphold its principle of discipline and loyalty to service. The ongoing inquiry will provide a lasting solution to what happened on May 13.
“It is not in the character of Nigerian soldier to be unruly.
“It is true the soldiers raised many issues of concern annoying them. Indeed, the issues raised are being looked into but the media should distance itself from the issue of mutiny. It is deadly and unecessary at this trying time.
“These are new soldiers who are just coming into town and they have not been well documented yet, so they had to wait for their commander to fix up certain things for them to get their operational allowance,” he said.
According to Gen. Olukolade, one officer and five soldiers died in the ambush, which took place at Telwa and it was in the process of bringing the dead to the hospital that about 50 officers who saw their bodies insisted that the GOC should address the soldiers.
“Just when he tried to address them having gone to the hospital to see the injured and the dead, they went on a shooting spree and the man had to go into his  vehicle and leave the place.
On whether the former GOC was squandering the allowances of the soldiers as alleged, Gen. Olukolade said it was not  possible to do that as he did not have custody of funds.
On renumeration and terminal benefits of soldiers, he said two insurance policies by the army and Defence added to benevolent and death benefits fund had been earmarked for soldiers.

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