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Killings in Middle Belt political, youths allege, coalition urges end, Army rescues 33 captives

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Nigeria Army. PHOTO: ketekete

A group, Middle Belt Youth Arise, yesterday said the continued killings in the region was political.

During a march on the Plateau State House of Assembly in Jos, its spokesman, John Eche Okpe, decried the seeming helplessness of the military, stating the institution was too mighty for an individual or group to manipulate or withstand for even a week.

He regretted that the killings had last for more than six months under the watch of the military authorities “because some people with vested interest and merchants of war are benefiting from the crisis.

“We are saying enough is enough. All ad hoc military operations in Nigeria henceforth should have a time limit. Our military is mighty. They have good track records. They go on peacekeeping abroad and everything goes fine. We call them to be patriotic.”

To move forward, Okpe urged the warring parties to sheathe their sword and head for the negotiating table.

He continued: “You cannot have a country where things are done anyhow, you cannot have a country where people feel they can do anything they want to do. There must be laws in this country and once there are laws, they must be observed and obeyed.

“Enforcement and sanctions are parts of the laws. We have criminals here who have committed heinous crimes and they are moving about freely.

And when you come out to have a peace rally, you face all the obstacles in the world. We are saying that the government should rise to the occasion and ensure that these criminals are apprehended and brought to justice.”

On the claims of connivance on the part of the military, he said it could not be totally ruled out going by the happenings across the federation.

Okpe added: “Of course, it is not quite a while ago that General T.Y. Danjuma came out and made a blunt statement. There could be elements of truth in the outburst considering his standing in the society.”

However, the Coalition of Middle Belt groups has urged the Federal Government to immediately end the mayhem in parts of the federation, commending General Danjuma for reportedly speaking truth to the authorities.

Rising from a meeting yesterday in Kaduna, the coalition, in a statement by 10 leaders, cited the   alleged failure of the military to curb the attacks as reason for their lingering.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Army said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole rescued 33 captives and killed three terrorists on Wednesday during a joint patrol with hunters and vigilantes in Jaje community of Borno State.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Texas Chukwu, in a statement in Maiduguri, said three members of the Boko Haram sect were neutralised during an exchange of fire.

He said the rescued hostages comprise 15 women, 12 girls and six boys.

According to him, members of the public should be vigilant all times and report suspected breaches to security agencies for prompt action.


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