The Nigerian army who reacted to the killing of two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers, after suspected herdsmen invaded a church in Mbalon in Gwer-East Local Area of Benue state, said on Thursday that the fresh rounds of killings in Benue State were being sponsored.
The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, who reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian army in apprehending the suspects, said the military had been recovering guns and other weapons from herdsmen and locals in several areas of Benue and Taraba states and would not take sides.
“The military is strategising on how to go after the herdsmen and their sponsors. We will get both the herdsmen and their sponsors.
“We want to say this to the killers and their sponsors that the military is coming for them. We are going to get both the killers and their sponsors very soon.
“The military is continuing with all its operations in the areas. Nigerians will soon see a change of approach in our operations.
“Some of the weapons we recovered were seized from the herdsmen. Others are not from the herdsmen. The Dane guns we seized were not from the herdsmen. The military cannot go into an environment to support any side.
“We seized weapons from everyone who had weapons. Some of the weapons were also obtained during engagements with these criminals.”
Still on herdsmen killings, theNational Economic Council (NEC) has proposed a ban on the movement of herdsmen in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna and Plateau.
At a meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, the council approved the creation of ranches across the country. Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting held at the presidential villa in Abuja.
The NEC comprises state governors and relevant ministries of government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Umahi said the five mainly affected states which have witnessed killings from the herdsmen/farmers clashes, are expected to make land available for ranches.
He added that with ranching, the nomadic herdsmen and their families would be able to access good medical facilities and good schools for their children if they stay in one place.