The Nigerian Army on Thursday said that it had begun to rid Benue State of armed gangs as part of its efforts at returning sanity to Northern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram insurgency has laid siege for some years.
In a statement made available to Channels Television, the Director Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said that “formation commanders of the Nigerian Army have moved to the various states in their area of responsibility to conduct the operations aimed at addressing deteriorating security situation in parts of the North Central.”
Also “troops deployed in Benue State have already cleared camps of all armed gangs in three Local Governments of the State. Normalcy have been restored in Guma, Gwer West and Agatu Local Government Areas. Some arrests and recoveries have been made in the process.”
The mission which was tagged ‘Operation Restore Peace’, “resulted in the destruction of militant camps, arrests as well as recovery of arms in Shendam area of Plateau State. 2 AK 47 rifles were recovered after an encounter with troops of Special Task Force and the armed gangs in their enclaves in Shimanker in Plateau State.
In Kaduna State, militants’ camps in Ladduga near Kachia were destroyed, while arms were equally recovered in Maigungume Hills in Niger State.
Major-General Olukolade further disclosed that General Officers Commanding (GOCs) were directly supervising these operations in their Area of Responsibility in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States, while the troops combed forests “in the mission to apprehend members of armed gangs and destroy their enclaves.”