The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, has stated that the fresh rounds of killings in Benue State were being sponsored. It added that the military would, however, soon apprehend both the killer herdsmen and their sponsors.
The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, insisting that the military would not support any side in the violence that had been going on in Benue State.
Recalled that herdsmen who blocked Gbeji-Anyinn Road in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, killed a soldier and a passerby on Monday.
On Tuesday, suspected herdsmen invaded a church in Mbalon in Gwer-East Local Area of the state and killed two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers.
On Wednesday, there was a report that 22 people were killed when herdsmen attacked Daudu, in the Guma area of the state.
Also, on Thursday, herdsmen invaded Africa Church in Mbamondo clan of Ukemberagya Gaambe-Tiev, in the Logo Local Government Area, and killed seven internally displaced persons.
Since the killings had become a daily affair, our correspondent asked the Defence spokesman if troops in Benue State were overwhelmed and whether the military would deploy additional troops in the state.
Agim said, “The military is strategising on how to go after the herdsmen and their sponsors. We will get both the herdsmen and their sponsors.
“We want to say this to the killers and their sponsors that the military is coming for them. We are going to get both the killers and their sponsors very soon.
“The military is continuing with all its operations in the areas. Nigerians will soon see a change of approach in our operations.”
The Defence’s spokesman said the military had been recovering guns and other weapons from herdsmen and locals in several areas of Benue and Taraba states, adding that the military would not take sides.
Agim said, “Some of the weapons we recovered were seized from the herdsmen. Others are not from the herdsmen. The Dane guns we seized were not from the herdsmen. The military cannot go into an environment to support any side.
“We seized weapons from everyone who had weapons. Some of the weapons were also obtained during engagements with these criminals.