Mil­i­tary de­clares Benue, Taraba com­mu­ni­ties peace­ful

The Punch - - NEWS - John Charles Makurdi

The De­fence head­quar­ters on Satur­day de­clared some com­mu­ni­ties in Benue and Taraba states peace­ful and safe for liv­ing.

The Com­man­der of Oper­a­tions Whirl Stroke and the act­ing Di­rec­tor of De­fence In­for­ma­tion, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, and Brig. Gen. Onyeama Nwachukwu, re­spec­tively, de­clared that peace and tran­quil­ity had re­turned to the af­fected ar­eas.

The two mil­i­tary gen­er­als, who led jour­nal­ists on tour of the ar­eas in Benue and Taraba states, said nor­malcy had re­turned to the trou­bled ar­eas.

Yekini said, “…We sent a strong force to Gbise to flush out these crim­i­nal el­e­ments and es­tab­lish a point which is like a su­per camp. Thank God we are able to achieve the mis­sion and the area is gen­er­ally peace­ful and calm.

“In fact, you can see that nor­malcy has re­turned and peo­ple are freely go­ing about their eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties.

“On the se­cond strat­egy we used to end the cri­sis be­tween the Tiv and Jukun around these ar­eas, our in­tel­li­gence sug­gest that the cri­sis was be­ing fu­elled by Gana and his gang. Gana had a troop that he sent to at­tack the peo­ple around the bor­der ar­eas un­til we came here, neu­tralised those of them that re­fused to run and cap­tured those we could cap­ture. That was how we were able to bring peace and tran­quil­ity to this area.

“So, in a way, since we did this de­ploy­ment, we could see that the Tiv/jukun cri­sis has grad­u­ally re­duced to al­most zero.”

Yekini stated that in a bid to sus­tain the peace that had al­ready been recorded, the mil­i­tary had em­barked on other op­er­a­tional strate­gies.

These, he said, in­volved “ki­netic (ac­tual fight­ing) and non-ki­netic, which in­volves peace and se­cu­rity meet­ings with crit­i­cal stake­hold­ers in the af­fected ar­eas where re­li­gious lead­ers, tra­di­tional rulers and youths were brought to­gether from both sides and agreed to give peace a chance as a re­sult of OPWS in­ter­ven­tion.”

The OPWS com­man­der said most of the peo­ple that fled dur­ing the cri­sis had started re­turn­ing to the com­mu­ni­ties. he said the pres­ence of sol­diers in the de­serted ar­eas re­stored con­fi­dence in the peo­ple to re­turn home.

Also speak­ing, the act­ing Di­rec­tor, De­fence In­for­ma­tion, Brig. Gen. Onyeama Nwachukwu, said, “As it stands to­day, this com­mu­nity, a strong­hold of that crim­i­nal, has been lib­er­ated; they have been neu­tralised and that is why we are here to show you that peace and tran­quil­ity have been re­stored to this com­mu­nity and eco­nomic and so­cial lives have also been re­stored to the com­mu­nity.”

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