The Headquarter, 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna has refuted social media reports of alleged killing of 17 herdsmen by soldiers deployed in the Southern part of Kaduna State on internal security operations.

The Division in a statement by its Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Kingsley Umoh said, “It would have been very convenient to ignore such unfounded and irresponsible story but the importance of safeguarding lives and preventing more losses supersedes that convenience.”

While explaining the army’s side of the story,  Colonel Umoh said, “For the avoidance of doubt, at about 10.30pm on Sunday 19 March 2017, troops responded to a distress call of an attack on Asso Village in Asso District of Kagoma Chiefdom in Jema’a LGA. A phone call to the Chief of Kagoma confirmed that a man was matcheted to death in the bush by suspected herdsmen, but that the situation was under control.

“However, about 5am On Monday, a call from the Zonal Chairman Of Miyetti Allah in Kafanchan indicated that after the killing of the victim by unknown persons, the natives mobilised and attacked some herdsmen settlements with two boys missing and feared to have been killed. Troops responded again to stabilize the situation. Later on the same day, at about 11am, one Mr. Steven James,55 year old farmer at Aso Village In Kwoi was found dead.”

He added that: “Tension in the area was getting higher while troops battled to calm the situation. In the process, troops came in contact with unknown gunmen about 5 Km East Of Asso. During the firefight one gunman was killed and one captured. Troops remained in pursuit and conducted clearance operations around Gada Biyu, Gidan Waya, Jagindi, Getti Village and Bakin Kogi axis.

“On Wednesday 22 March 2017, further clearance operations into Asso Forest led to the arrest of three suspected gunmen. While one later died from gunshot injuries, two are still being interrogated. In total, 2 miscreants were killed and two in custody in Southern Kaduna within the period from 19-22 March 2017.”

He maintained that, “Cordon and Search Operations were conducted at Getti and nothing incriminating were recovered. Troops maintain day and night patrols along Gidan Waya – Jagindi – Asso Road and environs.”

He appeal to citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders to always speak and act in the interest of peace, saying “It serves no useful purposes to continue to fabricate stories about the already delicate security situation in southern Kaduna.”