Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Commander of the Nigerian miltary’s newly launched Operation WHIRL STROKE, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, says that its mission is to pursue, track, find and destroy every criminal element and hideout in four affected states.
Yekini stated this on Friday while responding to a question during a press briefing by Brig. Gen. John Agim on the successes recorded so far by Operation WHIRL STROKE, which was launched on May 8 to confront security challenges in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Zamfara states
“It is a special mission to pursue, track, find and destroy. Any armed man or armed group that is here to cause evil is an enemy. We are here to put an end to incessant killing and we have no agenda beyond that,” the Commander said.
He noted that it was the first time in the history of the country that a special force of the entire armed forces and other security agencies would be coming together to conduct an operation.
The Special Forces Commander disclosed that several arrests of both indigenes and herdsmen have so far been made and the arrested suspects were already undergoing prosecution.
He stated that:
“We have made arrests of indigenes of Benue leading attacks. They are from Benue and they live in Benue. We have also arrested quite a number of herdsmen too, up to 147, who are undergoing prosecution.
“In this operation, we will find, fix, and we will strike them wherever they may be. We will bombard them, and once we have evidence that the camps are possible hideouts for criminal elements, we will bombard them. I have enough men, enough resources, to fish out the criminals and destroy them.
“You understand that some of these herdsmen shield themselves with their cattle. We will kill both the cattle and the herdsmen who use them as shield to attack.”o
Responding to insinuations that the operation would help enforce grazing laws, especially in Benue, Yekini said, “The military is not an agent of the state to implement the grazing law as is being insinuated in some quarters. We are here to maintain law and order. It is not our job to enforce the law.”
Earlier, during the briefing, Brig. Gen. Agim, said it was as a result of the incessant spate of killings in the four states that Chief of Defense Staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, in consultation with service chiefs and commanders of other security agencies, re-strategised and constituted the operation to ensure peace and security of lives and properties in the affected states.
“On the 8 May18, the Operation started in earnest and deployed in all the flash points in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states. It will subsequently be deployed in Zamfara state; however, aerial recognisance is being carried out on daily basis in Zamfara state, as well as other states, under this operation.”
Agim maintained that Operation WHIRL STROKE is a full-scale military operation in collaboration with other security agencies to completely restore law, order, peace and stability in the affected communities.
“In addition, Operation Whirl Stroke will ensure that all the people in the affected areas go about their lawful duties without fear of molestation from any quarters,” he assured.