Topic: Killings: Jonathan Deploys Troops to Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States  (Read 1206 times)

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President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the chief of defence staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, to mobilise joint military operations in Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau states with a view to curbing the incessant Fulani herdsmen attacks that have become rampant there.

Jonathan was said to have given the directive at the weekend, while troops have already been deployed for a major offensive in Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau states that have been experiencing seemingly endless attacks from the Fulani herdsmen always armed with sophisticated weapons.

According to a statement issued in Abuja by the Defence Headquarters and signed by its spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, the operations involved all the security agencies and the police.

“The internal security operation is meant to capture and neutralize all the enclaves of criminal gangs. The Nigerian Air Force, police and other security agencies are also participating in the operation designed to restore peace in the affected states.

“Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to cooperate by providing timely and useful information to facilitate the operation as it affects their localities,” the military stated.

According to reports, thousands of lives have lost in the three states in the last few weeks. Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue almost fell a victim when his convoy was attacked but some members of his entourage were killed in the process.

He has been to the Presidential Villa at least seven times to brief the president who had given him the assurance that the military would be asked to be involved.

The situation became complex when some were raising the alarm that the so-called herdsmen might be the Boko Haram insurgents who have been sponsoring terrorism in the north-eastern part of the country. “The Kanuris are the ones with the Boko Haram insurgency while some Fulanis are behind the killings in those states,” a security source said. “Our intervention will surely unmask those who are sponsoring them.”


Soldiers in Benue

The residents of the affected communities have lamented the absence of soldiers in their domains.

However, worried by this development, the special adviser to the governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mr Solomon Wombo, told journalists during a media briefing that “the absence of the military in the affected areas has worsened the crises”. He, however, urged the federal government to urgently implement the deployment of soldiers in the attacked rural communities.

Governor Gabriel Suswam had told newsmen that a general officer commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army had relocated to Benue to evolve measures that would end the attacks and protect lives and property.

Yesterday, the special adviser to the governor on media and public affairs, Dr Cletus Akwaya, told our reporter on phone that “there was a directive by the federal government for the army to take control of the attacked places and the implementation of that directive will only be done by the military”.


Fulani herdsmen, Benue farmers agree to reconcile

In a bid to permanently end the frequent attacks of gunmen on farmers, the Fulani herdsmen under the auspices of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and the troubled farmers on the umbrella of Benue Peace Building and Reconciliation yesterday met and agreed to reconcile and end the prolonged crisis.

This is the first time the rival parties would talk since the inception of the disagreement and heinous attacks. They resolved to immediately end the hostilities and live in peace.

The national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and the Benue State Peace Building and Reconciliation Committee arrived at the resolution yesterday at Government House, Makurdi, during an emergency meeting.

The meeting was witnessed by the deputy inspector-general of police (DIG) in charge of operations, Mr Micheal Zuokumor; AIG zone 4, Mr Adeola Adedeji; commissioner of police, Benue State, Mr Adams Udu; and his anti-terrorism counterpart, Mr S.L. Wakama; as well as heads of other security agencies.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the chairman of Benue State Peace Building and Reconciliation Committee, Brig-Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), and the national chairman of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, said: “In the course of this meeting, it was established that both the Tiv/ Agatu and Fulani saw the crises as needless and avoidable.”

It explained that the major cause of the crises has been that the farmers had accused the Fulanis of destruction of their crops and contamination of community water points while the Fulanis accused Tiv/Agatu farmers of denying them access to grazing areas and occasionally rustling their cattle.

“Accordingly, the following resolutions were adopted: both the farmers and Fulani have agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities and no party should attack the other; the Tiv/Agatu and Fulani will immediately work together to set up a joint task force to check the activities of criminal elements on both sides and implement details of the peace agreement; the parties will continue to meet from time to time to build confidence,” the communique stated.

It added that aggrieved parties should avoid taking laws into their hand no matter the provocation, avoid rumours, dismantle all illegal roadblocks and desist from searching motor vehicles. It urged the police not to hesitate to arrest and prosecute the culprits.

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