Authorities of the Nigerian Army said on Friday that allegations that its officers brutalized students of the College of Education, Kangere, Bauchi state are false.
The Army said students of the school embarked on violent protests over election of the union executives and resulted to blocking of the Bauchi-Gombe road hence arrest of 32 students.
A statement by Major Joseph Afolasade, spokesman of 33 Brigade Bauchi said, “The attention of Headquarters 33 Brigade Nigerian Army, Bauchi, has been drawn to some online publications alleging that soldiers brutalized students of College of Education Kangere, Bauchi State.
“This is not true as no soldier brutalized any student of the institution as alleged.
“The story is complete distortion of facts and what transpired at the school all aimed evading justice by those involved.
“Headquarters 33 Brigade wishes to state clearly that, our officers and soldiers are professionals that conduct themselves responsibly in the discharge of their duties.
“Therefore, it is pertinent to set the records straight to avoid creating erroneous impression in the minds of good people of our country.
“This morning, the attention of the soldiers located about 300 meters away from College of Education Kangere, was drawn to a public disturbance and protest which turned violent by some students of the College which led to blockade of the busy Bauchi-Gombe Federal Highway.
“The rampaging students and hoodlums that joined them in their hundreds from the school and the neighbouring community continued with their violent protest and blocking of the road unabated.
“The protest and the students actions was as a result of the postponement of the Election of new set of Executive Committee of the Students Union Government at the College of Education, Kangere.
“The Platoon Commander in charge of the troops quickly informed the Police of what was happening.
“But before the Police could arrive, the angry Students blocked the road, burnt tyres on the road and had used dangerous weapons on some of their colleagues.
“The soldiers had to peacefully disperse the hoodlums without firing a shot contrary to reports by the Social Media platform.
“The soldiers went out of their way to quench the borne fire and subsequently opened the blocked road for free movement of both human and vehicular traffic.
“It is pertinent to note that the alleged injured students were wounded by some of his unruly colleagues in the school.
“We wish to reiterate that the reported wounded students were injured in the school premises during election process before the arrival of the soldiers.
“No student was injured during the dispersal of the students outside the school premises where the crowd dispersal took place. Rather, it is regrettable to state that one of soldiers was injured by the protesters who threw stones at him while clearing the road.
Afolasade said that the Police patrol team arrived the scene after the soldiers had opened the road for free passage of motorists.
“We wish to state that the ring leader of the protesters was identified and arrested along with 31 other suspects by the military who were handed over to the Police.
“The soldier’s action was just and did not contravene any law in aid of the civil authorities to avert breakdown of law and order.
“As a matter of fact, the timely intervention and conduct of the soldiers deserve commendation not false and mischievous allegations.
“The Brigade will continue to subject itself to good conduct and is always ready to assist the civil authority whenever the situation demands within the established laws of the land.”
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