Molly Kilete, Abuja
Opening up for the first time after the killing of five police officers in Taraba State, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has said any officer indicted in the Taraba killings of August 6 would be prosecuted.
The COAS has also charged soldiers to obey the rules of engagement.
Buratai specifically reiterated that he would deal decisively with the officer and all the soldiers who took part in the killings and shootings of five police officers attached to the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), in Taraba State, on August, 6.
The army chief who condemned the killings, which he said had attracted very negative publicity and painted the Nigerian Army in a bad light, said he would no longer tolerate indiscipline from personnel.
Buratai, who also condemned the killing of an okada operator in Abia State as well as the rape of a female student by a soldier in Ondo State, charged commanders on the need to embark on training and re-training of officers and soldiers under their command.
Buratai, gave the warning at the ongoing Chief of Army Staff combined second and third quarter conference in Abuja.
The army chief who used the occasion to announce that the panel set up by the Defence Headquarters to investigate the Taraba killings, said he would take decisive actions against those involved to ensure such does not happens again.
He said: “It is imperative that we become more proactive in ensuring the discipline and professionalism of our personnel in our dealings with other agencies of government and indeed the larger society.
“We should all note that the Nigerian Army as part of the armed forces of Nigeria is mandated to support the civil authorities and the Nigerian Police Force in internal-security operations.
“However, recent occurrences have shown that there is a need for more re-orientation and civil-military relations and inter-service cooperation at the junior cadre level.
Unfortunately incidents such as the recent one at Ibi, in Taraba State which generated in-depth media comments are not healthy for smooth cooperation and operations of our security forces.
“Investigations of the incidents have been concluded and decisive actions would be taken to ensure it never happens again.
“Similarly the recent case of rape of a lady by a soldier of 34 artillery Brigade and the shooting of a motorcyclist by another soldier at Abia State are examples of such unwarranted events which we must guard against.
The Nigerian Army would not condone any form of indiscipline or actions that will tarnish its good image.
“I, hereby, charge commanders at all levels to continue to educate personnel on the need to adhere o the rules of engagements at all times and also respect all extant laws and the fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.”