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Breaking: Military discovers illegal security training camp in Taraba

by Israel Akintunji

The 20 Model Battalion of the Nigeria Army located in Serti, Taraba state, said it has discovered an illegal security training camp in Serti locality.

Commanding Officer of the battalion, Lt.-Col. Sani Adamu, stated this on Thursday, November 1, in Serti. Sani told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the special adviser on security to Taraba governor, Col. Agyo Wapan (retd), had been invited as part of the investigation on the issue.

He said that the discovery followed calls by concerned citizens who disclosed that no fewer than 300 youths were being trained in a public primary school in the area.

He said that on the receipt of the calls, he promptly responded by visiting the site and found over 300 young men undergoing military training. The commander said that the training was being conducted by GS Security Services, a security outfit in the state. He confirmed that he had filed a report to his superior on the development and for a further directive.

The security outfit is allegedly hired by the Taraba government to train selected youths as ‘Marshals.’ Sani explained that his men had profiled the young men and dismantled the camp while awaiting directive from Army Headquarters.

Alarm on the illegal training camp was sequel to unusual influx of hundreds of young men from some local government areas into Serti, headquarters of Gashaka local government area.

A resident of the area, Abubakar Mohammed, told NAN that they raised the alarm because of the frequent clashes of youths who were commonly used by desperate politicians to hunt their enemies. “We suspect that the state government is training them, under whatever guise, to use them to disrupt the election process in 2019,” he said. Contacted, the chairman of Gashaka local government area, Umar Mohammed, explained that the training was at the instance of the state government.

He said that 10 youths were selected from each ward to be trained as marshals who would subsequently be deployed to provide security in their areas. Mohammed said that before the exercise, the military, police and the Directorate of State Service (DSS) were invited to a security meeting where the issues of uniform and other kitting of the marshals were agreed on.

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He said that those being trained in Serti were recruited from Sardauna and Gashaka areas “with the full knowledge of stakeholders in each ward.”

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