- The spokesman for the Defence HQ, Brig Gen John Agim, has said the killings in Benue are being sponsored
- However, he assured Nigerians that they would soon see a change, as he said the military is going after the killer herdsmen and their sponsors
- He also disclosed that guns and other weapons had been seized from herdsmen and locals in several areas of Benue and Taraba states
The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, has reacted to the fresh round of killings in Benue state, saying that they were being sponsored, Punch reports.
The military’s assertion was made by the director of defence information, Brig Gen John Agim, on Thursday, April 26.
NAIJ.com learnt that Agim, however, stated that the killer herdsmen and their sponsors would soon be apprehended, as he insisted that the military would not support any side in the violence that had been going on in the state.
On Monday, April 23, a soldier and passerby were killed by suspected herdsmen who blocked the Gbeji-Anyinn Road in the Logo local government area of Benue state.
Suspected herdsmen also killed two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers when they invaded a church in Mbalon in Gwer-East local government area of the state on Tuesday, April 24. The killing spree continued on Wednesday, April 25, as 22 people were reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen in the Guma area of the state.
Also, suspected herdsmen killed seven internally displaced persons when they invaded the Africa Church in Mbamondo clan of Ukemberagya Gaambe-Tiev, in the Logo local government area, on Thursday, April 26.
The defence spokesman was asked if troops in Benue were overwhelmed due to the daily spate of killings; and if additional troops would be deployed to the state. He stated: “The military is strategising on how to go after the herdsmen and their sponsors. We will get both the herdsmen and their sponsors.
“We want to say this to the killers and their sponsors that the military is coming for them. We are going to get both the killers and their sponsors very soon. The military is continuing with all its operations in the areas. Nigerians will soon see a change of approach in our operations.”
Agim also disclosed that guns and other weapons had been seized from herdsmen and locals in several areas of Benue and Taraba states, by the military.
He said: “Some of the weapons we recovered were seized from the herdsmen. Others are not from the herdsmen. The Dane guns we seized were not from the herdsmen. The military cannot go into an environment to support any side.
“We seized weapons from everyone who had weapons. Some of the weapons were also obtained during engagements with these criminals.”
In a related development, NAIJ.com previously reported that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, following concerns about the recent killings by suspected herdsmen in various parts of the country, including two Catholic priests and 15 other worshippers in Benue state.
The CBCN made the call on Thursday evening, April 26, in a communiqué signed by its president, Most Rev Augustine Akubeze, and secretary, Most Rev Camillus Umoh.
In the communique titled, “When will this barbarism end?” the clerics urged the president to choose the honourable path and step aside “to save the nation from total collapse”, instead of presiding “over the killing fields and mass graveyard” that the country had allegedly become.
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