2 December 2012

Nigeria: Jaji Blasts Military Chiefs Removed

The Defence Headquarters yesterday ordered for the redeployment of the Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji, Air Vice Marshal Abdullahi Kure, and the Corps Commander, Infantry Jaji, Major General Mohammed D Isa, over the bomb blasts that rocked Jaji Military Cantonment in Kaduna State.

Two bomb blasts at the cantonment last week killed at least 15 people and left many more with serious injuries.

The Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim yesterday ordered for the immediate deployment of AVM Kure and Major General Isa who are the most senior officers of the cantonment.

The Director of Defence Information Colonel Mohammed Yerima announced the decision in a statement issued in Abuja.

He said: "Following the Board of Inquiry raised by the Defence Headquarters to unravel the circumstances that led to the bomb explosion which rocked St Andrew's Protestant Church at the Jaji Military Cantonment in Kaduna State last week, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ibrahim has directed the Services Headquarters to replace with immediate effect the Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji, Air Vice Marshal I. A. Kure and the Corps Commander, Infantry also located in Jaji, Major General M. D. Isa.

"Air Vice Marshal E. E. Osim is to replace Air Vice Marshal Kure as Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) while Major General K. C. Osuji will act as Corps Commander, Infantry, Jaji."

The statement said AVM Kure and Major General Isa would be redeployed by their respective services.

There were speculations last week over possible removal of some military personnel following the Chief of Army Staff Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika's expression of concern over the Jaji attack.

At the opening ceremony of the 2012 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference in Asaba, Delta State, he had condemned what he described as the laxity which led to the attack.

He described the incident as "very sad" and said it could have been prevented.

"A board of inquiry is already instituted to unravel what happened, which we believe could have been prevented," he said.

However, Ihejirika said at the end of the annual conference that the military high command would be very decisive in dealing with security issues even as he charged commanders of the various units to rise to their responsibilities.

The army chief challenged all commanders to seek ways of ensuring effective security maintenance in all military formations, stressing that the absence of a fence should not be an excuse for any commander to allow what happened in Jaji to take place.

Both the police and army authorities on Friday began investigations into the Jaji blasts and the attack on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad's (SARS) headquarters in Abuja.

The army authorities have reportedly arrested 10 soldiers, including men and officers on duty when the incident occurred last week.

Similarly, 12 policemen were detained over the attack on the SARS headquarters in Abuja last Monday. There were suspicions that the attacks were carried out with the possible assistance of internal collaborators.

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