Exercise Cat Race: Troops Arrest 12 Herdsmen In Benue
The Nigerian Army on Sunday said 12 herdsmen have been arrested in Benue State.
The suspects were arrested by troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade presently taking part in the Exercise Cat Race called Ayem Akpatuma in the state.
They were arrested for alleged involvement in the destruction of farmlands in Benue on March 17, 2018.
Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu in a statement on Sunday said the suspects were arrested during the visit of the Presidential Assessment Team to Mbayer/Yandev and Kaambee wards in Benue State.
Chukwu said the troops after arresting the suspects also recovered some items while they were handed over to the police.
“On search of the general area, two motorcycles were recovered from the suspects. The 12 herdsmen were handed over to the Police for further action,” he said.
The troops have since remained in the zone to continue maintenance of vigilance in the general area with patrols.
The military intervention in Benue State has witnessed previous success with arrests made.
The Nigerian Army had earlier in February said 10 herdsmen were arrested for destroying farmlands in some villages in Benue State.
Troops participating in Exercise Cat Race arrested the herdsmen on February 26 while on routine patrol in Tse-Tigir and Tse-Ndugh villages.
The herdsmen according to the army were caught while in the act of destroying the farmlands.
They, however, fled into the bush when they sighted the troops which pursued and eventually arrested them
The troops also recovered five motorcycles, two machetes, some assorted charms and the sum of N120,000 from the herdsmen.
After their arrest, they were handed over to the Nigerian Police for further action.
Military Intervention, Justice For Victims
The military intervention in Benue came after several attacks by the herdsmen that have since sent many Benue residents to their early graves, most notably on New Year’s Day.
During the inauguration of Operation Cat Race in February, the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Burutai warned the troops to engage any group of armed herdsmen terrorising local communities in Benue State or face a military court-martial.
The army had earlier announced that the operation would run from February 15 to March 31 in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states.
It is expected that these arrests would bring under control, to a large extent, the attacks by suspected herdsmen and other ancillary security challenges in that zone.