Premium Times (Abuja)

28 February 2013

Nigerian Army Denies Killing Nasarawa University Students

Photo: Vanguard
Nigerian soldiers.

The Army alleged that the students were armed.

About three days after some students of the Nasarawa State University were allegedly killed by soldiers, the Nigerian Army has denied that its men were responsible for the killings.

At least two students were killed on Monday during a protest in Keffi, Nasarawa State, although initial reports said there were four victims. The students were protesting the unavailability of water and electricity in their institution.

Reports say soldiers, while trying to quell the protests, fired live ammunition killing four of the protesters.

However, the Director of Army Public Relations, Ibrahim Attahiru, at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday denied that its soldiers were responsible for the killings.

Mr. Attahiru said the soldiers from 177 Guards Battalion in Keffi only helped the police to quell the violent protests embarked upon by the students.

The police had earlier admitted to the killing of two students, and injury to seven others, saying its officials were not responsible for the killings.

"The policemen that went to the scene only cleared the expressway that was blocked by the students," Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, said.

The police spokesperson referred any question on the killers to the army.

The army has now denied the claims.

"What these people are writing is not correct. Soldiers were not deployed and couldn't have carried out the shooting. Our men were on patrol duty at Keffi," Mr. Attahiru said. "The students, who were protesting, had blocked the road but soldiers did not have any altercation with them. There were the police and other security agencies, who were on the ground to handle the situation."

He introduced a new dimension to the killing of the students when he alleged that some of the protesters were armed.

"There is also this information we have that the police even recovered some arms from the students who were protesting," the army spokesperson added.

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