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Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes: Army To Launch Operation ‘Cat Race’ In Benue, Taraba, Others

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In a bid to end the killings that have been prevalent in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and other states as a result of clashed between herdsmen and farmers, the Nigerian Army has announced plans to launch operation code-named ‘AYEM AKPATUMA’ meaning ‘Cat Race’ from 15 February to Saturday 31 March 2018.

Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu, announced this on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the Army Headquarters Conference Room in Abuja. Part of his statement reads:

“Additionally, Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is also conceptualized to dovetail into real-time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals when called upon. Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA will also be unique as the ones before it with the establishment of Step-Up Brigade Headquarters in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States. Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, roadblocks, checkpoints and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.

“It is pertinent to note that Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is set to be another remarkable exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in troubled areas.

“In this regard, members of the public especially the residents of Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States are enjoined not to panic as the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law-abiding citizens have been deliberately factored in the planning of this exercise.

“Furthermore, the troops taking part in the exercise would be guided by the Professional Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and the respect for human rights. Thus, the general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding a safe haven amidst our communities.

“The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action. In order to ensure cordial civil-military relations, we shall make contact phone numbers of all Brigade Commanders public in addition to the Nigerian Army shortcode Information and Call Centre 193.”

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Akin Akingbala is an international journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Aside being happily married, he has interests in music, sports and loves traveling.

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