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Buratai launches military exercise for Taraba, Nasarawa, others


Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai PHOTO: NAN

Police arrest mastermind of Benue killings, others
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday officially inaugurated a military combat codenamed Exercise Ayem Akpatema in Benue State, saying the exercise was not targeted at any particular individual or group.

Speaking at the operational headquarters of the task force at Mbabaigh in Guma council area of the state, he noted that the formation would cover
Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba and other states in the Middle Belt.

According to Burutai, the military outfit would familiarise the troops with internal security challenges and restore sanity in the affected areas through collaborations with sister forces, including the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other paramilitary organisations.

He said: “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma is a way of contributing our own quota to ensure that we support the civil authorities to assuage whatever challenges they have over the situation that is facing our society.

“First and foremost, let me make it clear that this is not an operation. It is an exercise that is essentially military.”

The Army chief noted that the troops would undertake medical outreach and interact with people while the exercise lasts.

However, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has arrested the mastermind of the New Year Day attacks in Benue State.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of Operations, Joshak Habillah, who made the disclosure yesterday, said the 40-year-old suspect, Alhaji Laggi, was arrested at Tunga Forrest in Nasarawa State after being on his trail for more than three weeks.

Besides Laggi, the police authorities also apprehended four other principal suspects between February 16 and 19 also in Tunga town with AK 47 rifles and other prohibited arms.

The quartet was held in connection with the killing of Sergeant Solomon Dung, other police officers and other innocent citizens in Benue. The rest were identified as Mallam Mumini Abdullahi, 34; Muhammed Adamu, 30 and Ibrahim Sule, 32.

Also yesterday, the IGP said normalcy had returned to Benue and Nasarawa communities.

During a peace meeting in Abuja, Idris said information available to him indicated that the security situation was under control.

He commended both political and traditional rulers of Benue and Nasarawa states, whom he invited for the parley, for their contributions towards the existing peace, just as he hoped that a reoccurrence of the ugly incidents would not be witnessed in the future.

The deputy governor of Benue, Benson Abonu who led the state delegation, noted that the two states had been living as brothers and sisters from time immemorial.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Nasarawa governor on Security, Brig. Gen. Muhammad Umar Adeika, clarified that his state was not against the anti-open grazing law in Benue but expressed concern over the mass movement of cows and herders into the state.

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DSSTukur Buratai
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