Army begins operation in Benue



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Army begins operation in Benue

By Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi



 

The Army at the weekend began the second phase of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma (vat race) in Benue State to combat crimes.



At the launch in Makurdi, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the exercise began on November 1 and would end on December 23 during which people are expected to go about their legitimate duties and pass information about criminal activities to security agencies.

Lt. Gen. Buratai, represented by the Chief of Logistics of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. J.I Unuigbe, said the exercise is being conducted in conjunction with other security agencies operating in the state.

He said the code of conduct and rules of engagement of the personnel had been drawn up for the exercise to guide the conduct of the troops throughout the exercise.

“Troops are, therefore, expected to conduct themselves in the most professional way expected of military personnel,” the COAS said.

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Lt. Gen. Buratai, who said the Army would not condone any act of human rights abuse by the troops that would be involved in the exercise, advised criminals to desist from their acts and surrender their weapons or be met with decisive appropriate action.

The Commander, 707 Special Forces Brigade (SFB), Brig.-Gen. Emeka Emmanuel, represented by the Chief of Staff, Abubakar Sadiq Bugaje, enjoined the people not to panic when they notice heavy presence of troops in their areas.

He urged law-abiding citizens to report criminal activities at the information centre that would be established at what he called super camp during the exercise.

Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel assured the people that a high level of professionalism would be displayed throughout the period of the exercise and beyond.

Governor Samuel Ortom lamented the level of criminality in the state that led to the killing of over 73 people early last year as well as killing of Catholic priests in the later part of the year.

The governor, who spoke through his deputy, Benson Abounu, an engineer, noted that although the issue of insurgency has been put in the past, there is resurgence of kidnapping in the state, which he described as a “dead devil criminality which puts victims in terrible trauma.”

Ortom, who urged the troops that would be engaged in the exercise to “deal ruthlessly and comprehensively with the criminals”, hoped that the exercise would tackle kidnapping.

Army begins operation in Benue

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