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Army launches new operation in Benue, gives reason

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On Friday, the Nigerian Army launched the Cat Race ll (EX Ayem Akpatuma ll) exercise in the state of Benue to stop criminality in the country.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that The Chief of the General Staff of the Army (COAS), Lieutenant General. Tukur Buratai, at the beginning of the exercise in Makurdi, commissioned the Special Forces to exhibit a high sense of responsibility during the use.

Buratai said that “Ex Cat Race l,” which was previously held between February 20 and May 14, 2018, in the states of Benue, Taraba, and Kogi, registered a massive success as clashes between shepherds and farmers were controlled.

Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Logistics, Nigerian Army, Division General. Joel Unuigbe said that the Ex Cat Race ll was the response of the Army to the growing cases of kidnappings, bandits, and communal clashes, among others in these general areas.

“The Nigerian Army in the performance of its constitutional functions to defend the territorial integrity of this country, as well as helping the civil authority to maintain peace and security, has decided to launch Ex Ayem Akpatuma ll to stop cases of kidnappings, communal clashes , among others, and consolidate on earnings initially recorded by Ex Cat Race ll.

“The exercise will take place from November 1 to December 23, 2019. During this period, the general public is advised to fulfill their legitimate duties and quickly transmit useful information on criminal activities to security agencies.”

Therefore, he urged the Special Forces to respect human rights during the exercise since the Army would not tolerate any act of abuse. The code of conduct and the rules of participation have been prepared for the exercise that will guide the behavior of the troops throughout the year.

Therefore, troops are expected to behave in the most professional manner expected of all Nigerian army personnel. The Army will not tolerate any act of abuse of human rights by the troops that will participate in this exercise,” he warned.

Buratai also advised all criminal elements in the state to give up their criminal acts and hand over their weapons. In his comments, Governor Samuel Ortom urged the military to deal ruthlessly with all criminal elements within the state.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, praised the Army and other security agencies for rescuing Benue from criminal elements, especially insurgents.

“Today, when the Army has once again thought about Ex Cat Race ll, I have the sincere hope that the issue of kidnappings will soon be a thing of the past.

“I know that the Nigerian army is an elitist army, a modern, very well trained and coordinated army would have an elaborate plan of action for this exercise.”

Ortom thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the second phase of the exercise and pledged to support him to fulfill his mandate.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, and banditry have become a weekly ritual in the state of Benue.