The chief of army staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, said yesterday that the military had been careful to not unleash its full might on insurgents in the north because of the need to avoid collateral damage.
He said that as much as they would want to tackle rising insecurity in the land, the army was mindful of the need to protect the lives and property of innocent citizens.
The army chief, who was in Kano as part of the activities to mark this year’s Army Day, pointed out that his men had been responding to the series of attacks in parts of the north with utmost professionalism.
“I’m happy with the troops sent to the state [Kano] to provide security. They have been tackling the security challenges with utmost professionalism.
Said the COAS: “I have always cautioned my men to always show professionalism and protect women, children and other law-abiding citizens. They have been doing this even at the time we lost our men in some operations.”
“In our past operations, a lot of these women and children have been successfully rescued without being hurt; that is why I’m happy with the troops.
“As much as we do not want to exert our full force on the insurgents because we do not want to hurt innocent people, other security operatives have been very supportive in bringing peace back to Kano.’’
He also expressed appreciation to Kano State government and sister security agencies for standing by the army to restore peace and stability in parts of the north.
The current security problems in the country, he said, were a temporary challenge, pointing out that his vision was to transform the Nigerian army so that it can face the challenges adequately.
The COAS, who later addressed the troops, gave them a pat on the back for their maturity and professionalism and assured them of continued support in all areas of operations and training.
On the rumoured mutiny by Nigerian soldiers in the Sudan, the army chief said that there was nothing like that in the Sudan. He said the return of the soldiers drafted to the peace operation was delayed due to some UN administrative processes that had since been sorted out.
The practice, according to him, was to return soldiers who have completed their assignment so that they could reunite with their families.
While in Kano, the chief of army staff paid courtesy calls on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the state governor, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, and commissioned the new office complex of the 3rd Brigade.