Troops have captured another killer herdsman in the Guma local government area of Benue, the scene of recurring deadly attacks by herdsmen. The name of the captured herdsman was given as Idi Gemu.
The capture of Gemu, whose AK 47 has also been seized by troops, brings to four the number of killer herdsmen captured in the area in the past five days.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many communities in the Tiv speaking areas, including Guma local government area, have seen repeated attacks by herdsmen in recent times.
Hundreds of people, especially farmers have been losing their lives to recurring herdsmen attacks in communities in north central Nigeria in recent years.
The development compounds the problem in Africa’s most populous nation, which has been fighting an Islamic insurgency since 2009. There has been no letup in the killing of people in communities in Benue, raising fears that agriculture in Nigeria’s food basket may soon be threatened. The commander of 72 Special Forces Battalion, Lt.-Col. Suleiman Mohammed, told reporters on Wednesday in Makurdi that Gemu was captured on May 1.
Mohammed said that the three other killer herdsmen were also captured in the Guma local government area on April 26 and that their capture led to the capture of Gemu.
He said that troops were doing “everything possible” to safeguard lives and property in Benue, advising residents of the state to provide useful information to security agencies.
But in an interview with newsmen, Gemu said that the Ak 47 rifle recovered from him did not belong to him, saying that the gun belonged to one of his friends, who fled when troops swooped on them. Gemu claimed that he was sleeping when the soldiers came and that his friend fled after he sighted the troops.
He said that he decided to keep the gun for the friend but was arrested with the gun by the troops. Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has embarked on an operational visit to troops in some of the trouble spots in Benue.