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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Benue killings: Too early to blame ISIS, say police

Benue killings: Too early to blame ISIS, say police

Joshak Habila

The police have said that it is too early to conclude that members of the terrorist network, Islamic State in West Africa, were responsible for the violent attacks and bloodshed in Benue and other North-Central states.

The force, however, explained that it had arrested many suspects, adding that a good number of them had been arraigned in court.

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The Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations, Joshak Habila, explained on Monday that the police would not attribute the killings to anyone or group, but would instead go after the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

He said, “Investigation would show (ISWA involvement in the killings), it is too early to draw a conclusion, but whatever it is, the truth is everybody who is committing crime would be arrested and so, we don’t want to harp on anybody, group or organisation to make it difficult to process, but a criminal is a criminal.”

Habila, who spoke with our correspondent on the phone, said this while responding to questions on claims by the Department of State Services that the ISWA terrorists were responsible for the carnage in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and other states in the country.

The information was said to be contained in an intelligence report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by security agencies, including the DSS.

But the DIG, who is leading the operation in Benue against herdsmen suspected of masterminding the killings, explained that the police were collaborating with the DSS and other security services to end the carnage in North-Central states.

When asked if the DSS shared its intelligence report on ISWA with the police, Habila said he was not sure, but hinted that the secret service might have shared it with his boss, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

“They (DSS) normally share, it’s a deep collaboration, they may have done so, but not at my level, I’m on the ground (in Benue). The report would be properly analysed and sent to me,” he said.

The DIG said that the police were engaging in confidence-building in Benue State, adding that the force was getting the necessary cooperation from the communities and the state government.

“Many people have been arrested, a very impressive number have been caught in the act, for disturbance of public peace and also destroying people’s properties and they are being prosecuted in court,” he disclosed.

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