CDS vows to punish Military officers found culpable in Kaduna attack

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, has assured that the military would punish any officer or soldier found culpable in the recent drone attack on civilians in Kaduna state.

Gen. Musa said the military would not shield any personnel that was found wanting after the investigation on the incident.

He gave the assurance on Friday, December 15, while fielding questions from journalists during his maiden media parley with Defence correspondents at the Defence Headquarters Abuja.

Over 85 civilians were accidentally killed by the the Nigerian Army drone on December 3, during operations against bandits in Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

He said: “Wherever we erred we will say it, we have nothing to hide. Like what happened in Kaduna state. What happened is highly regrettable. At that time we were pursuing some bandits and that happened. Thank God the President has instituted an investigation into the issue.

“Officers that are found culpable for the Kaduna incident will be punished. In the armed forces we don’t shield offenders. We are going to be transparent about it. The members of the investigation committee are not even from the Armed Froces.

“We have been doing it (punishing erring officers and soldiers) at the Operation Hadin Kai. We have punished many officers. Many of them are in jail after court martial.

“During operations we have human error and machines also misbehave. The incident in Kaduna is just one of those.

“If you could recall, it is the terrorists in the Birni Gwari general area that attacked the NDA some years ago. It is the same that threatened the Kaduna air port.

“A few days before the recent attack day some soldiers were killed by the bandits, and we started tracking them. The drone was following them. We know that there were interaction between the community and bandits. And moulud were not held in that community for some years. But we waiting for the report of the investigation.”

Speaking about recent military operations in Niger State, the CDS said there is a strong indications that a wanted and notorious terrorists kingpin, Kachalla has been killed by the Nigerina Air Froce during airstrikes.

“About the killing of Kachalla we have human intelligence that have confirmed that he has been killed. But we are awaiting further intelligence for use to go public about it.”

The military high command said Nigerians should appreciate the efforts of the military in the ongoing fight against terrorism, through positive comments and commendations.

The CDS said: “The security challenges in the country should concern everybody. You (journalists) are in the frontlines like us. We want you to tell the people that people are out there sacrificing their lives, and we should not do anything that will demoralize our troops.

“If you see anything bad, even if it is our troops, please report. If you don’t it means you support it. In anywhere we operate we have court martials constituted so that any of our personnel that erred is being punished according to the law.

“ I felt very shocked recently when I saw my obituary in the media. That very day we are live on Television at the National Assembly. That is very unprofessional. We don’t want any issue with the media. We operate an open door policy. If there is anything please clarify.”

“The media has a crusial role in shaping people’s perception. Hence, the relationship with the media is very important.”

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The military high command said contrary to opinion is some quarters after the Kaduna drone attack, there is synergy between the services of the Armed Froces.

“ Some people say the war in the North East is taking long because some people are benefiting. We are not benefiting from any war. I lost men everyday. Nobody, no Commander benefits from people dying. That is what people need to know,” he said.

“Anywhere in the world accemetry warfare is difficult to win. Don’t just allow it to happen because it is difficult to curtail.”

He said the antitode to insecurity is good governance, adding that some problems contributed to the present security challenges.

“ Farmer helders clashes, ethic clashes, and others, caused the terrorism to spread. That is why we advocate good governance. If there is good governance many security challenges will go down,” he said.

“Our porous borders also contributed. Nigerians should began to take ownership of the Armed Forces. They should take issues of security seriously.”

“We should put hands on deck to address insecurity. We must join hands together to end it. The fight is not for the military or police alone, but all of us. Populace should not support terrorists or.bandits in any way.”

He said the military is winning the war against terrorists, but there is still more to be done.

“We don’t know when terrorism will end ,but it is going down,” the CDS said.

“When I was in the Operation Hadin Kai, 77,000 terrorists surrender before I leave the theater, but now over 140,000 terrorists have so far surrendered to the military.”

On the issue of allicating largest sum in the 2024 budget to Defence and Security, General Musa said fighting insecurity involve a lot of funds.

He said: “We don’t produce anything we buy everything. Even the bullets we buy them.

“So when people thing defence budget is huge, if you take 100million naira into the theater before you know it is gone. In United States of America over 100 billion dollars is voted for Defence sector.

“But I can assure Nigeria that the Armed Forces is making judicious use of every money that is given to it.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Director Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau, said the meeting was organized to enable the CDS interact with Defence Correspondents about his command philosophy, and to solicite media support on the ongoing fight against insecurity.

Speaking on oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region, the CDS accused the communities for protecting the oil bunkerers. He, however, said that the military wouldl continue to pursue Non-Kinetic approach to wining the hearts ans minds of the people or order to summount the present security challenges.

“But my appeal to all of us is that Nigeria is our country, we shouldn’t destroy our country ourselves. We will have challenges but let work together and see how we can solve these challenges,” he advised.

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