Defence

In the bid to disarm the populace ..benuites accuse the army of siding with herdsmen

A group in Benue has raised alarm over fliers reportedly distributed by the army, shortly after Buratai’s visit – It alleged that the fliers were to protect the herdsmen in the state – However, the army has said the fliers are to create awareness A socio-cultural Tiv group in Benue, Mzough U Tiv, has raised concern over fliers reportedly distributed by the Nigerian army deployed to address farmers-herdsmen clashes. NAIJ.com had reported that the army launched Operation Cat Race to address the problem in the state but according to The Punch, residents are apprehensive. The leaflets were circulated shortly after the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, visited Benue to launch the operation. Chief Edward Ujege who is the president-general of the Tiv group alleged that the fliers were to protect the herdsmen in the state. He said: “We wish to express our profound displeasure at the emerging trends of the military operation tagged ‘Ayem a kpatema.’ The general public may recall our initial apprehension about the real mission of troops deployed in Benue State. True to our predictions, the launch of the exercise confirmed our fears. “A pamphlet circulated by the Nigerian Army has defined the real intention of the military in Benue State. The pamphlet confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over our land.” He claimed that the pamphlet acknowledged that herdsmen carried out attacks in the state. “Yet, without addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, they are compelling Benue people to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities,” he said. However, the deputy director of army public relations, 707 special forces brigade, Major Olabisi Ayeni, said the essence of the pamphlet was to educate the people on both sides. He said: “The pamphlet was to convey a message on the need for farmers and herdsmen to live together in peace. “We want to ensure peaceful coexistence among the herders and farmers. We are not saying the Fulani herdsmen should not obey the anti-open grazing law enacted by the Benue State Government.” NAIJ.com reported that Benue state police command is reported to have arrested four suspects in connection with the January 1 massacre in Benue state. The suspects were also arrested over the killings of Sgt Solomon Dung and other police officers. PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 new app The command said the arrest was in line with the directives of IGP Ibrahim Idris who had ordered that all persons involved in the killings in Benue state and those in possession of AK47 rifles and other prohibited arms should be arrested, TVC news reports.

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