The Taraba State government on Saturday expressed shock over the sudden withdrawal of troops deployed in the state to enforce peace and security.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu, the Taraba State government lamented what they described as unceremonious withdrawal of the troops from the operations.
“The surprise is that no reason was given for the withdrawal and government was not aware.
“At the moment the reason for the withdrawal of the soldiers is not known to us,” the statement added.
Chairman of Donga Local Government Area, Hon. Nashuka Ipeyen, told our correspondent in an interview that soldiers deployed in troubled spots in the local government started pulling out around 1am on Saturday.
Ipeyen explained that on receipt of the information, he quickly contacted the Commanding Officer, 93 Battalion Ada Barack Takum, Lt. Col. Ibrahim Gambari, who said he ordered the withdrawal of the soldiers.
“I complained to him over the withdrawal of soldiers because we received information that some villages were going to be attacked, but he told me he can’t risk the lives of his soldiers.
“The Commanding Officer insisted that he was withdrawing the soldiers until the state government should write an undertaking that they will take responsibility if any of the soldiers is attacked or killed.
“I don’t know why the state government would have to do that for the soldiers when the attackers are killing civilians on a daily basis. Just a while ago, a Tiv man was shot dead in a village at the outskirts of Donga town here.
“However, I have made arrangement with the commissioner of police who has since deployed three trucks of mobile police personnel to provide security for the people,” he said.
However, in reaction, the Assistant Director Army Public Relations, 23 brigade Yola, Maj. Kamarudeen Adegoke, denied that soldiers were withdrawn from the local government.
“All our men are still stationed at their various duty posts. I don’t know where the state government has gotten their information that troops have been withdrawn, but what I can confirm to you is that our men are fully on the ground,” he said.
Our correspondent who was in Donga to monitor the situation of the Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) reports that five truck load of army personnel were seen leaving the local government, even as military check points along Rafinkada – Donga road were empty without personnel manning them.