Published On: Fri, Aug 11th, 2017

Nigerian Army Denies Invading UN House, Says Troops Were Only Hunting For Boko Haram Terrorists

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By Sadiq Umar – The Defence Headquarters has dismissed as untrue, claims that troops of Operation Lafia Dole, invaded United Nations house in Maiduguri, explaining that it merely carried out a cordon and search in the area as part of its counter-terrorism efforts.

It said the house in question is an unmarked accommodation without any sign that it was occupied by the UN.

The military, in a statement Friday in Abuja maintained that “the relationship between the Nigerian military and United Nations has been cordial, aimed at working towards a more secured world in general and Nigeria in particular which will be sustained.”

The statement read: “The Defence Headquarters wishes to clarify the news through some media outlets that troops of Operation LAFIA DOLE invaded United Nations house in Maiduguri, which is not true. It was a cordon and search operation conducted in that general area in line with the re-invigorated effort of the Military on Counter Terrorism operations in the North East as a whole.

“It is noteworthy that, the house being referred to as United Nations building, is an unmarked accommodation without any sign that it was occupied by United Nations. Notwithstanding, the search operation was conducted peacefully at the premises, when the troops were allowed into it, just like other buildings.

“Furthermore, the relationship between the Nigerian Military and United Nations has been cordial, aimed at working towards a more secured world in general and Nigeria in particular, which will be sustained. Thus, everything will be done by the Nigerian Military to ensure that United Nations activities and interests are given adequate protection and encouragement.

“Therefore, the general public is hereby requested to disregard the information that “United Nations building in Maiduguri was raided by troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE”.

Earlier, the United Nations in an advisory to its staff members in the Borno state, said soldiers besieged the UN property at 2am to carry out a cordon and search operation.

“At about 2am early this morning, Nigeria army troops in trucks are conducting cordon and search on UN red roof humanitarian camp and forced their way into the property,” the UN said in an advisory note to staff.

“Presently conducting searches on the property, radio room is not functional at the moment. We cannot at this point ascertain the security situation, or implications but you shall be updated on development. Having consulted the ASC, all UN staff in Maiduguri are to work from home today and expect updates.”

But the Army in a separate statement issued by Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Samuel, said it carried out a search on the property because it had credible intelligence that some Boko Haram insurgents had infiltrated the area.

Samuel said there was no sign to show that the property was a UN building, but that no arrest was made there.

“As part of ongoing counter insurgency operations, the theatre command Operation Lafiya Dole has been conducting several clearance as well as cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the theatre. The clearance operations effort has been yielding several successes,” he said in a statement.

“It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists (BHTs) to change tactics and resort to employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace.  This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in Maiduguri metropolis and environment.

“In the last one week cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas. On 10th August 2017, theatre command received information from one of its credible sources that some high value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye-Pass.

“It, therefore, became expedient to take pre-emptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operations.  The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched.  One of such included a property which was said to be occupied by United Nations staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.”

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