According to a top military source in the OPWS that covers Benu,Nasarawa and Taraba States who spoke to Sunday Independent,“None of our
soldiers is missing.
An indigene of Ukum LGA also told Sunday Independent that the people
of the area have proof that the alleged missing soldiers were among the Jukun militia. The indigene who spoke on the basis of anonymity, said one of the soldiers
that were declared missing, mistakenly dropped some documents that may connect him to the attack.
Some of the documents include a pass allowing the said soldier to go for sick leave (and may have used the leave to join the mercenaries), his voters card, and ATM card. Meanwhile, the Ukum Development Association has expressed fear that the alarm raised by the military may be a ploy by the soldiers to attack Jootar community.
”During the attack, three persons lost their lives and over 200 houses,as well as food stuff were destroyed in the course of the attack.
Joseph Terzungwe,President General of the Association also observed that while the plot readily brings to mind the attack by the military on Gbeji
community of Ukum LGA of the state in 2001 over some missing soldiers,
he called on the Federal Government to intervene before the matter gets out of control.
He appealed that the identity of the “missing soldiers” be made known and their mission to Jootar in the company of the Jukun militia be established.
“The presence of soldiers at Jootar in the midst of a Jukun militia attack reminds us of the Gbeji incident.
“We are at a loss to understand the claim that members of the Nigeria
Army were also among the Jukun militia that attacked Jootar without any provocation and inflicted so much damage on the town.”
He further observed that, “We do not understand how Army personnel could be missing in an attack by suspected Jukun militia that took place between the hours of 2am
and day break. “The attackers, bearing sophisticated weapons unleashed mayhem on the villagers who were deep in their sleep. Three persons were killed, many houses were burnt down and properties, including food stuff were destroyed. Some of the villagers who
were woken by the attack fled.
“We appeal to the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to take urgent steps to safeguard the peace and security of
Ukum people who are not in conflict with the Nigerian Army,” he added.