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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Herdsmen Killings: Finally, Military Operations Begin In Benue, Environs

Herdsmen Killings: Finally, Military Operations Begin In Benue, Environs

Soldiers, Army

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday, announced the planned commencement of its special operation to clamp down on those perpetrating killings and other violent crimes in Benue state and environs, to restore peace in the areas.

Other states scheduled for the operations are Nasarawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba and Niger, all within the Middle Belt region, which are also victims of the Fulani herdsmen attacks.

There have been series of killings and wanton destruction of property in these states, said to be perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen, and the attendant outbursts by Nigerians that the federal government was not doing anything to stop the killings.

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However, about 24 hours after, President Muhammad Buhari finally directed that the attackers in Benue state and environs be arrested, the Nigerian Army came up with the planned exercise.

Briefing journalists on the operation, Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, said that the operation, named “Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA”,: which would between February 15 and March 31, would be conducted in Area Of Responsibility (AOR) of 1 and 3 Divisions in Kaduna and Jos, including Headquarters, Command Army Records, CAR, Kogi, Guards Brigade, Abuja, and 707 Special Forces Brigade, Makurdi.

The COAS, who was represented by Maj-Gen David Ahmadu, Chief of Training and Operations, CTOP, said that in view of the exercise, the Army would establish Brigade Headquarters in each of these states, as the exercise will culminate into real time operation.

The Army Chief stressed that in line with its constitutional role in aid of civil authority, “Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA has become more expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger States as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi State and herdsmen/farmers clashes and attacks on innocent members of our communities particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States by armed militias. These security challenges have continued unabatedly in these States despite the efforts by sister security agencies to curb them.

“Additionally, Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is also conceptualized to dovetail into real time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals when called upon.

“Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA will also be unique as the ones before it with the establishment of Step-Up Brigade Headquarters in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States.

“Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.

“It is pertinent to note that Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is set to be another remarkable exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in troubled areas,” the COAS stated.

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The army enjoined members of the public, especially the residents of the affected states not to panic as the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law abiding citizens have been deliberately factored in the planning of this exercise.

He said that the troops taking part in the exercise would be guided by the Professional Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and the respect for human rights.

“The army has requested the general public to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding safe haven amidst our communities.”

It has further vowed that it would ensure that the criminal activities that caused the people of the affected states tears and pains are brought to its end.

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