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Herdsmen Crisis Military blames attacks on sponsors

The military said it will soon apprehend killer herdsmen and their sponsors.

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Miyetti Allah says herdsmen armed with guns are criminals play

Armed herdsman (illustration)

(National Daily )

The Defence Headquarters has blamed the rise in the spate of killings carried out by suspected herdsmen as the handiwork of certain unnamed sponsors.

In an interview with The Punch on Thursday, April 26, 2018, the Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General John Agim, said the military is currently in the process of implementing a change of approach in its operations to apprehend killer herdsmen and their sponsors.

He said, "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."

Political opponents sponsoring herdsmen attacks - Presidency

Earlier this week on April 22, President Muhammadu Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, alleged that some politicians in opposition to the president's administration are behind the ongoing herders and farmers conflict in the Middle Belt.

The president's aide said the federal government has evidence that most of attacks were sponsored by politicians who are trying to blackmail the government.

He wrote, "Today, government has irrefutable evidence that much as most of these killings are arising from herdsmen-farmers attacks, some of it is driven by politicians.

"The recent arrests by the army in Taraba State point to a clear political sponsorship, and the kingpins, some of whom have been arrested have been handed over to the DSS for further investigation.

"Others who are being sought have either gone into hiding or they are pulling strings of blackmail to force the hands of government to abandon the search for them.

"It is clear by now that the Middle Belt killings even if they are not caused by the opposition are no doubt seen as a political opportunity to set the tone for the 2019 elections."

President Buhari was subjected to heavy criticism weeks ago when he blamed some of the conflict on former Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, who died in 2011.

According to President Buhari, the conflict escalated due to Gaddafi's army of trained gunmen who escaped into Nigeria and started causing problems to local populations with their sophisticated weapons.

The struggle for access and control of lands over which roaming herdsmen graze their cattle has led to conflict with local farmers all over the country, resulting in the death of hundreds just this year alone with herders credited with a majority of unprovoked attacks. The killer herdsmen have been responsible for the murders of civilians, police officers and soldiers.

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