The Nigerian Army has sympathised with Methodist Church Prelate, Samuel Kanu, over his abduction by armed attackers last weekend but raised questions about claims that soldiers of Fulani extraction were involved in the crime.
Army spokesman, Nwachukwu Onyema, said in a statement:
While the Nigerian Army expressed concern and sympathy for the unfortunate kidnap of the Methodist Prelate, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnapping incident of Methodist Prelate in Abia State recently is not premised on any findings of investigations and therefore should not be swallowed hook line and sinker.
Mr Kanu, the bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark and the prelate’s chaplain were kidnapped on Sunday in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State and they were released on Monday.
After their release, Mr Kanu alleged that some soldiers from Fulani extraction were associated with the gang, which had demanded N150 million ransom but soon settled for N100 million after negotiation and threats.
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The Methodist prelate claimed during a press conference at Methodist Church, Yaba, Lagos:
Where they are situated, there were soldiers all from Fulani extraction around the area at Nnoma junction, and these boys were going behind them.
However, Mr Nwachukwu, a brigadier-general, said that military authorities would commence an investigation into the matter.
According to him, questions to be answered during the investigation would include whether or not the army was informed prior to the disbursement of the ransom to kidnappers. The ransom was paid in less than 24 hours.
Mr Kanu’s claims that soldiers were stationed near the point of abduction would also be probed.
The Army spokesman said:
However, given our professional disposition in the Nigerian Army, we will take the allegations seriously and approach the Methodist Church to unravel the weighty allegations.
Mr Kanu had said the Methodist Church of Nigeria raised funds for his release on Monday. He insisted that the police and the Nigerian Army did not make any effort to secure their release.
While sharing his ordeal in the hands of his abductors, he said they vowed to “chew” President Muhammadu Buhari “into pieces” because they were angry with his regime.