DISTURBING! Army Records Severe Casualties In Secret Lagos Operation, 4 Soldiers Killed, 6 Hospitalized
The Nigerian Army is in the middle of an operation in Lagos that has seen at least four soldiers killed and six hospitalised, according to a report citing military sources.
The exclusive report by Peoples Gazette noted that the 10 soldiers were officially identified to have “suffered casualties in the mysterious operation were all attached to the Nigerian Army 81 Division Garrison in Victoria Island.”
Military sources citing an official communication reportedly said the casualties were announced in an internal memo on October 25, five days after the alleged shooting of unarmed protesters in a military operation at the Lekki tollgate.
“Four soldiers were announced killed and their remains deposited at a military hospital in Lagos, officials said. Six soldiers, including a lieutenant, were gravely injured and now hospitalised at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi
The operation in which the soldiers died remained unclear, Gazette reports.
A medical official at the hospital also told the Gazette the military did not say how the soldiers sustained gruesome injuries.
According to the report, military sources said officers were still baffled by the unusual decision not to disclose the operation that inflicted a disaster of this magnitude.
“We have our suspicions about where the soldiers were killed and why the military did not want to disclose it publicly or even internally,” Gazette quoted a senior military officer as saying Tuesday night. “But whatever it is can only be covered for so long,” the officer added.
The Gazette has withheld the name of the fallen soldiers because it was yet unclear whether or not their families have been notified by relevant military authorities.
A spokesman for the Nigerian Army did not immediately return a request seeking comments about the attack on Tuesday night.
At least nine people were killed when the Nigerian Army sent soldiers to violently quell a protest in Lagos on October 20. The military initially denied having personnel on the scene, but tactically walked back its position following overwhelming evidence.
Nigerians have repeatedly asked Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai and other military commanders to come clean on what they might know about the shooting, whose aftermath has been largely shrouded in secrecy despite the interest of the International Criminal Court in the matter.
Authorities in Lagos have already set up a panel of inquiry, with Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu telling CNN on Monday the army will be held accountable for casting such a pall on the state’s civil liberties chronicle.
Lekki Shooting: ‘Lagos Govt Invited Us To Restore Order But We Didn’t Shoot Protesters – Army Breaks Silence
Meanwhile, one week after the Lekki tollgate incident, the Army has confessed the Lagos state government invited it to intervene in the #EndSARS protest.
Youths demanding end to police ruthlessness and reform of the Force had refused to stay off the roads despite a 24-hour curfew imposed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, after widespread violence.
In a statement on Tuesday, Osoba Olaniyi, acting director, army public relations, said soldiers stayed away from the #EndSARS protests until the Lagos government invited them to restore order.
Olaniyi said while restoring order, soldiers did not shoot protesters, describing reports on the attack of the protesters by the military as fake.
“The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that civilian protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki Toll Plaza. This allegation is untrue, unfounded and aimed at causing anarchy in the country,” the statement read.
“At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian. From the onset of the ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved.
“However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24- hour curfew was imposed.
“This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away. The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that LASG requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy.
“The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for Internal Security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Internal Security operations.
“Finally, Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities did not shoot at any civilian as there are glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact.
“This allegation is the hand work of mischief makers who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army. The general public is hereby enjoined to discountenance this allegation as there is no iota of truth therein.”
The military broke its silence on the crisis one day after Sanwo-Olu told CNN that footage of the shooting showed that the Nigerian Army is responsible for the incident.
Speaking during the live interview on Monday, the governor said “from the footage that we could see, because there are cameras at that facility, it seems to be that they would be men in military uniform who should be Nigerian army or something.”
He stated further that there will be an investigation into the Lekki shooting and he hopes anyone found culpable will be held accountable.
“We will be committed to a full investigation of what happened and people would be held accountable. They certainly would be held accountable. We would do everything possible to ensure that they are held accountable,” he said.
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