Allegation on troops not responding to prevent attacks in Bassa communities untrue – says OPSH

Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) the  armed forces’  Command structure set up to enforce peace in Plateau States and environs has described as false and untrue media reports alleging that some troops deployed to communities had told residents they had no instructions to repel invaders . 

Recalled that gunmen suspected to be herdsmen during  on August 1,  attacked  some communities in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State and  killed seven persons and razed 250 houses.

The media report in question had on Saturday quoted  copiously the paramount ruler of Irigwe ethnic nationality in Plateau State, His Royal Highness, The Bra Ngwe Irigwe, Rt Rev Ronku Aka as saying  the soldiers could not repel attacks on his communities because they were not instructed to do so.

His Royal Highness Rt.Rev.Aka had told the President of the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, Rev Gideon Para-Mallam who led a delegation to his palace that security operatives deployed to his communities could not stop the attackers because they were not given order to prevent or stop it. 

But a statement  by OPSH  Military Information Officer Major Ishaku Gaji Takwa  denied the allegations .
It said that the “allegation is not only false and baseless but a malicious and futile attempt to once again malign the good work troops of OPSH.”

While stating that it attention has been drawn to the publication, OPSH said  that the  allegation is not only false and baseless but a malicious and futile attempt to once again malign the good work troops of OPSH have been doing to restore normalcy to troubled areas in line with its operational mandate.

 “It is pertinent to note that OPSH is committed to safeguarding lives and property in line with global best practices of adhering to rules of engagement (ROE), standard operating procedure (SOP) and respect for fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

“For the records, OPSH deploys in a joint operations involving all security agencies whose mandate is to bring lasting peace on the Plateau and environs. 
” It is practically impossible to issue out orders to troops and for them not to respond to any distress situation aimed at saving the lives and property of law abiding citizens considering that they are drawn from all the security agencies, cutting across ethnic, religious divides and under oath to maintain peace and security in the nation.  

“Therefore, the submission that troops have not been given permission to protect communities is not only false but wicked as the mandate of OPSH is explicitly clear on what should be done in an event of such unfortunate situation in line with the SOP. 

“However, it would be appreciated if anyone has information that would help identify personnel that is alleged to have given such excuse as to not given orders to respond to distress calls. 

“It is also important to stress that prior to deployment, troops are adequately briefed on their expectations for operations in realization of OPSH mandate.

“Currently, the Commander OPSH has ordered the beefing up of security and increased patrols to safeguard all troubled areas to prevent recurrence of such sad incidents.

“All law abiding citizens are therefore enjoined to cooperate with the security agencies by providing credible information that would aid the security agencies in performing their duties.

“The good people of Bassa and environs are once again urged to use the phone numbers distributed by OPSH to report activities of suspicious elements in their domain for prompt response,” it stated.