Brutality: Soldier was a thorn in our fishery community

…as 81 Div GOC sets up Board of Inquiry

By OKOSUN DENNIS

FOLLOWING the attack by some soldiers on Makoko, a slummy community in Yaba, some residents said the soldier, who on the 15th August descended on some boys in the community and beat them to a pulp, had been assaulting them regularly.

The soldier identified as Yayagbene, an Ijaw man from Bayelsa, was said to have descended on the unnamed victim based on the flimsy excuse that he wore army camouflage trousers.

Speaking with our reporter at Makoko, Bamidele Solomon, a resident, said it wasn’t the first time the soldier, who recently passed out from training depot, would assault members of the community after drinking himself to a stupor.

“He boasted he would beat the boy to death for refusing to pull the trousers and bring to him two weeks before. The elder brother supported instead of restraining him,” Solomon said.

Meanwhile, the General Officer Commanding, (GOC) 81 Division, Maj Gen Henry Isidore Edet, immediately set up a Board of Inquiry (BOD) to investigate the circumstances leading up to the attack.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 81 Division, Lt Col Kingsley Samuel, said “The BOD would unravel the circumstances that led to the soldiers’ action, who permitted them to take such action, how many of them were involved and what led to the fracas.”

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Further investigation by our reporter revealed that the soldier was drunk. “People were buying him more beer. He was in uniform and was drinking terribly, mixing different drinks. He later invited about seven more soldiers to join him. Some were in mufti while others were in uniform.

A week before the incident, a civilian friend of the rogue soldier was thoroughly beaten and soaked inside dirty gutter, and was then he stabbed because he attempted to have a handshake with his former friend now in khaki. Another resident who spoke anonymously said after they succeeded in brutalising the boys and inflicted severe injuries on them, the soldiers attempted to run away the neighbours caught two of them.

It was learnt that apart from enjoying the privilege of beating younger men, he also descended on elderly men too. It was learnt that he passed out of training depot early this year and had hardly worked for six months before the incident occurred.

Lt Col Samuel further has said his unlawful act would not go unpunished if the soldiers are found culpable. Discipline remains the bedrock of military professionalism.

The two soldiers have been handed over and are in our custody while the injured one was receiving treatment in the hospital, he concluded.

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