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We handed Dapchi over to the police after withdrawing, says army

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The Nigerian Army says it formally handed over Dapchi to the Police after its soldiers were redeployed (not withdrawn) from the town in the run-up to last Monday’s abduction of 110 schoolgirls by Boko Haram.

This was contained in a statement issued on Monday by Onyema Nwachukwu, a Colonel and Deputy Director Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole.

The statement was in response to claims by Ibrahim Gaidam, Yobe State Governor, that soldiers withdrew from their location in Dapchi just hours to the Boko Haram attack.

Nwachukwu maintained that Gaidam’s allegations were “not only unfortunate, but also very far from the truth”, adding that the redeployment of troops from Dapchi was “done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued” by the Governor.

“In carrying out its mandate to counter terrorism and insurgency in north eastern Nigeria, Operation Lafiya Dole has been alive to its responsibilities vis-a-vis the fight against Boko Haram insurgents,” Nwachukwu stated.

“Contrary to the comments being circulated, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian-Nigerien border.

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“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town.

“Troops’ redeployment was therefore done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued.

“It is thus obligatory, to state that the allegation reportedly attributed to the Governor of Yobe state is misleading and misinforming. We reiterate our commitment and determination to carrying out our mandate to fight Boko Haram terrorists in the north east.

“We would also like to assure the parents, government and the good people of Yobe State and indeed members of the public that we will not rest on our oars in the search and rescue of the abducted school girls and any other persons held captive by the terrorists.”

On Saturday, John Agim, Acting Director of Defence Information, had told reporters that there was no truth to the claims by Gaidam that troops were withdrawn from Dapchi, thereby enabling the insurgents to attack the community.

“There is no truth in the allegation because the military has been in a location that is about 30 kilometres to the school,” Agim said in a text message sent to The Punch.

The attack on Dapchi came a day after Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, gave a fresh order to the leadership of the counter-insurgency operation in the north-east to capture Abubakar Shekau, head of the Boko Haram, dead or alive.

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The Nigerian government has maintained that Boko Haram has been seriously degraded and almost totally destroyed, but events keep pointing to the contrary.

During a visit to Yobe State, a day after the Dapchi attack, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said the attack was merely a sign of a dying Boko Haram trying to embarrass the Federal Government.

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