George Okoh in Makurdi
The Special military operation in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States known as Operation Whirl Stroke has disclosed that 140 bandits and militias were killed by the military in the last one year of its operation.
It also said a total of 178 assorted weapons and 3,569 ammunition of different calibres were recovered from bandits in the last one year.
The Commander of the operation, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, made this known while displaying the ammunition at an event marking its one year operation.
Yekini also said 171 militia elements including armed herdsmen and criminals linked to the notorious Terwase Agwaza (Gana) were arrested.
According to Yekini, over 250,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) have returned home since the inception of the operation.
“215,000 in Benue; 30,000 in Taraba and 5,000 in Nasarawa,” he said.
He further disclosed that 38 identified militia camps were destroyed across the three states (21 in Benue, 12 in Taraba and five in Nasarawa States), while Gana’s associates including his wife, spiritual leader and close aides were also killed.
Yekini announced that the operation has peacefully resolved five protracted conflicts among five ethnic groups.
“The conflict in Lau, the Tivs and Fulanis in Wukari LGAs of Taraba State, Shitile and Ukum clans in Katsina Ala, Ukum and Logo LGAs of Benue State as well as between Tivs and Fulani ethnic groups in Keana and Awe LGAs of Nasarawa State were resolved,” he said.
The breakdown showed that 41 weapons and 1,293 ammunition were recovered in Benue State,127 weapons and 2,235 ammunition were recovered in Nasarawa State and 10 weapons and 41 ammunition were recovered in Taraba State.
“It will be seen from the statistics that more arms and ammunition were recovered from Nasarawa State than the other states although more operations were conducted in Benue State within the one year period,” Yekini said.
He said there has been an increase in farming and commercial activities in the rural areas of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba and significant reduction in cases of violent crimes to a degree that traditional law enforcement agencies are beginning to take the lead in their handling.
He commended the federal government through the defence headquarters, the chief of defence staff, the chief of army staff, other service chiefs, heads of other security agencies, governors of the states, local governments chairmen and balanced reportage by media practitioners in the three states.