As parts of its effort to restore stability to the north-central region and environs, the Nigerian Army has arrested 10 herdsmen for destroying farmland in some villages in Benue State.
The rampaging herdsmen were arrested by troops participating in the newly-launched Operation Cat Race during a routine patrol in Tse-Tigir and Tse-Ndugh villages.
This was disclosed in a statement Monday by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Texas Chukwu.
“While in the act of destroying the farmland, the herdsmen sighted the aggressive troops and fled into the Bush. The determined troops pursued and arrested them,” the statement read in part.
He added that the troops – of Sector 1 (Sub-Sector A) deployed in Yelwata – recovered five motorcycles, two machetes, some assorted charms and the sum of N120,000 from the herdsmen before handing them over to the Nigerian Police for further action.
Operation Cat Race, the military exercise aimed at curbing conflicts and other criminal activities in the north-central was inaugurated in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Tuesday, last week by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai.
During the inauguration, Buratai had warned the troops to engage any group of armed herdsmen terrorising local communities or face a military court-martial.
The army had earlier announced that the operation would run from February 15 to March 31 in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states where herdsmen have unleashed a reign of terror over the past year.
It is expected that this would curb the growing menace of armed Fulani herdsmen across the country.