January 27, 2024

COAS visits Mangu, tasks troops to stamp out violence 

COAS visits Mangu, tasks troops to stamp out violence 

Warns them against taking sides

By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos

The Chief of Army Staff, COAS, General Taoreed Lagbaja, has tasked the personnel of Operation Safe Haven, OpSH, to stamp out the recurring violence in Plateau State in line with the rules of engagement that have been spelled out to them.

The COAS, who visited the scenes of the recent skirmishes in the Mangu local government area of Plateau State to see things themselves before addressing the troops at the Mini Stadium in Mangu, frowned at the renewed violence and encouraged the troops to remain focused and deliver positive results.

In his remark, he said, “Six months ago, I was here to launch Operation Hakorin Damisa, and I addressed you. The charge I gave you was that you should not allow the situation to degenerate and that you should stamp out all forms of insecurity on the Plateau.

After that, I returned on the 31st of December, 2023, because of what happened on Christmas Eve. In the past week, we have experienced another round of violence in Mangu, and I am here again.

“I have had a chat with your commander and his planning staff on the security situation on the Plateau, especially in Mangu. I know that the situation here is complex because people have imputed religion, ethnicity, and what you are experiencing here, but as soldiers, your focus is on one thing. Every lawbreaker must be apprehended.

“Let me warn you: you are going to stamp out the criminality and the violence once and for all. Go out and do it. I drove into this place this morning, and I was alarmed that on the major artery, they burnt people’s buildings; they even set bonfires. Is it too much for two soldiers on motorcycles to dominate the major artery? You people became reckless, and they burnt people’s houses throughout the night. Your rules of engagement are very clear.

“Because of the nature of the crisis here, people bring in a lot of sentiment, but I am not swayed by emotions or the battle of narratives. Don’t be discouraged; you are here to do a task, and you have been equipped by the taxpayers, and you must do it. Be focused on your job and deliver.

“When I drove into town, I discovered that people were parking and vacating their areas. That is a vote of no confidence in you; go out there and dominate the space and be responsible; don’t take sides because if you are caught, you will be dealt with.”