Agatu killing

Benue killings: Middle Belt group tells Nigerian Army to go after sponsors

The Middle Belt Rights Congress, MBRC, has reacted to the arrest of suspected notorious killer herdsmen, Idi Gemun, Aliyu Teshaku and others by the Nigerian troops in Guma Local Government Area of Benue.

Reports had that Idi Gemun was recently captured by troops of the 72 battalion at the scene of the recurring deadly attacks few days after the arrest of Aminu Yaminu, aka Tarshaku, who was believed to have masterminded the recent killings in the state.

Reacting to the development, MBRC called for the arrest of those sponsoring killers in the middle belt states, especially Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and others.

Moses Ogaba Ochapa, who spoke on behalf of the group at a press conference in Makurdi on Sunday, lauded the Nigerian Army for the success so far recorded in the ongoing operations to end the incessant loss of life and property in the farmers/herders’ clashes in the north central states.

Ochapa said, “These successes are crucial to ensuring that the entire country does not get plunged into the chaos that comes with food crisis since many farming communities are unable to plant crops while demented killers rampage through the land. Sustaining the tempo of the successes being recorded by the military will see to it that agriculture is not completely disrupted in our land.

“We cannot bear to lose our place as the guarantors of food supplies in Nigeria to end up as people waiting for food relief from donors.

“Even before the Nigerian Army recorded this breakthrough, we had insisted that the killings in Benue state have too many sick and twisted dimensions to them even though the trend is to conclude that everything that is happening is the handiwork of herdsmen. These recent arrests have now proven that the problem is more complex than initially thought.

“We commend the Nigerian Army for rising above the distractions and unnecessary criticisms to embrace professionalism that has yielded the arrests of these high-profile killers and criminals. We commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for being steadfast and not losing focus even amidst the barrage of attacks on the selfless Nigerian Army by people who do not want the killings in Benue and other states around it to end.

“It is pleasing that these arrests and disruption of the killing network are being achieved while troops continue to act within acceptable rules of engagement for such operations. Our expectations are this would continue so that those planning to defend the killers would be short of viable excuses for their actions.

“ We however urge the Nigerian Army to sustain the tempo of capturing the tormentors of Nigeria’s peace and bring them to justice.

“Our appeal to the COAS is that the arrests should not be limited to the militants with weapons. The political components and sponsors of the so-called militia herdsmen must be identified and taken in for investigation by the appropriate branch or security agency. Anyone indicted in such exercise must be made to answer for their crimes. Going after the sponsors and the political components of those that have flooded the Middle Belt with blood is the only way to turn the tap off grief and misery off at the source.

“The source of weapons that make these killers formidable must also be investigated since law-abiding citizens are not meant to be going around with such weapons of destruction.”

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