The special military task force in Plateau State, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has denied alleged complicity in the death of two men in Riyom Local Government Area of the state.
The men were reportedly killed last Sunday, by gunmen in the area.
In the aftermath of the incident, some media report had quoted locals of accusing personnel of OPSH of complicity in the act, which has drawn condemnation from the general public.
In its reaction to the allegation, the task force maintained that it had nothing to do with the death of the youths, explaining that its personnel on patrol were drafted to the area upon receipt of a distress call on the incident.
It has, therefore, enjoined the general public to disregard the allegation, which it described as baseless in its entirety.
The OPSH has, however, accused some mischievous persons from the area of trying to discredit the military outfit.
In the response contained in a statement, entitled: “Re: Condemnations Trail Killing of Two Youths in Riyom By Gunmen”, and signed by its Media Officer, Major Ibrahim Shittu, the OPSH maintained that: “These concocted lies were intended by the authors to set the public, especially citizens of the state against OPSH which has worked assiduously with other stakeholders to ensure peace and security in the state especially during the Yuletide season despite several threats of attacks.”
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) has been drawn to reports in news media, alleging killing of two youths by gunmen in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
“The report which claimed that more facts have emerged on how the gunmen killed the two young men on Sunday around 7.09pm, quoted some locals accusing men of Operation Safe Haven of been responsible for the attack and killing of the victims, identified as Jerry Bitrus, 28, and Joseph Davou, 32, respectively.
“Having gone through this report and allegations made, we wish to dissociate our men from this act in its entirety. This allegation is not only false, mischievous and baseless but also aimed at discrediting the operation.
“These concocted lies were intended by the authors to set the public, especially citizens of the state against OPSH which has worked with other stakeholders to ensure peace and security in the state.
“To set the records straight, we wish to state that on Sunday, January 10, 2021, the Commander Sector 6 of Riyom General Area was called by the youth leader of Ghoss to inform him that two persons were shot by unknown gunmen. Following the information, he swiftly mobilized his troops in conjunction with the Police Riyom Division to the scene.
“On their arrival, they met the two victims who were incapacitated and bleeding profusely. A close examination by the team showed that one was already dead while the other one was evacuated to K Vom Christian Hospital in company of some youths; unfortunately, he later gave up the ghost.
“The Member of the Plateau State House of Assembly representing Riyom Constituency, Hon Timothy Datong, having heard of the development, called the Commander Sector 6 where the incident happened and he was briefed accordingly.
“It is, however, sad that some mischievous persons are accusing personnel of OPSH of the killings.”