Plateau killings: We will destroy the cancer of terrorism — DHQ



…Insists military not backing any group

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has vowed to destroy terrorism describihg it as a cancer.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday on the operations of the armed forces.

According to the Director, he stated that the military has deployed its special forces to conduct targeted operations across the country as part of a renewed response to tackle the menace of insurgency, kidnapping, and other security threats.

Buba said the military was conscious of the apprehension occasioned by kidnappings, particularly with recent events recorded in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other areas.

The ‘Middle Belt,’ a region in Nigeria known for its ethnic and religious diversity, has long been plagued by conflicts between farmers and herders, breeding violence that has claimed countless lives.

The recent violence in Plateau state occurred just days after a Christmas Day attack that left at least 140 people dead. In response, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on January 23. Residents in the North-central region, where Plateau is located, point to armed herders as the main culprits behind the attacks on farmers.

The DHQ further assured Nigerians that it is redoubling efforts to ensure that citizens live in a peaceful environment and have a prosperous life.

“This is achievable, and we are focused on achieving it,” the Director emphasised.

“The armed forces would destroy the cancer of terrorism that is ravaging our country, thereby creating situations such as is ongoing in Plateau State.

“The situation of insecurity that we are confronted with is self-inflicted by our own citizens upon one another.

“Nevertheless, it is our duty to protect citizens and create a safe environment for them to have a prosperous future,” the Defence spokesman said.

Buba added that the military has constantly rejigged its operational strategies to adopt the best course of action that would guarantee success.

According to him, the military has deployed Special Forces to some of the hotspots to conduct targeted operations.

“We have also deployed several battlefield enablers to enhance intelligence and strike capability against these terrorists.

“We are encouraging the warring factions to sheath their swords.”

Commenting on ongoing security operations in the FCT, he said, “As for the FCT and environs, offensive operations are ongoing at the following locations: Cashew Forest, Kwaku, Gwombe, Gadoro, and Tukuba, all in Kuje Area Council.

“Other areas covered were Kawu, Igu, Tokulo, Gaba, Zuma 1 and Zuma 2, Shere, Mpape, Jikoko, Berger Quarry, and Nukuchi Villages, all in Bwari Area Council of FCT.

“In neighbouring states to the FCT, such as Niger State, troops are conducting operations in Gauraka, Apo Forest, Gyedna/Sabon Wuse, and Garam in Tafa LGA of Niger State.

“Additionally, troops covered Numan and Basa in Akwanga and Nasarawa LGAs of Nasarawa State, respectively,” he said.

On the Mangu crisis in Plateau, Buba said it was being handled by troops deployed to the area to restore normalcy.

Tukur Gusau, Brigadier General and Acting Director Defence Information also said the military remains neutral following allegations of partisanship in the conflict, adding that troops responded professionally and by the rules of engagement.

In a statement responding to a viral video by the Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Mangu Chapter, Reverend Timothy Daluk, the Gusau argued that the video is aimed at maligning military personnel deployed to address the security challenges in the Mangu general area.

“The video made baseless and untrue accusations, claiming that the military is biased and supports a particular group against others. We categorically state that these accusations hold no truth, are malicious and lack any reasonable foundation.

“It is important to recall that on 23 January 2024, there was a breach of security in the Mangu municipal area, resulting in the Government of Plateau state declaring a 24-hour curfew. Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN were reinforced in Mangu to enforce the curfew and bring the situation under control, thereby preventing its spread to other areas.

“The troops have carried out their duties professionally and in accordance with the rules of engagement. They have successfully arrested criminals involved in looting and burning of properties, as well as recovered weapons.

“It is deeply disturbing that a religious leader, who is expected to demonstrate high levels of moral judgement and truthfulness, has resorted to spreading falsehoods about the military and its personnel.

“We want to reiterate that the military remains neutral, focused, professional and committed to its constitutional role of protecting the lives and property of law-abiding citizens. We will deal with anybody found disobeying the law, without bias or prejudice.

“We therefore call upon the public to support the ongoing military operations aimed at decimating non-state actors operating in these troubled areas of the State. We will not be distracted by baseless accusations and remain steadfast in our commitment to restoring peace and security.

“We strongly caution individuals involved in making malicious comments against the military to cease from such acts. Henceforth, any person found spreading falsehoods will face constitutional redress, regardless of their status in society.”

“We sincerely appreciate the law-abiding citizens for their support and cooperation and assure the public of our unwavering dedication to preserving peace and security in the country. Thank you,” the statement read.

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