The Defence Headquarters has disclosed that it handed over 162 herdsmen to the police for investigation into alleged ties that the suspects may have with Libya.
The acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim, was reacting to the recent assertion by President Muhammadu Buhari that the herdsmen had strong links with Libya and were trained as hitmen by late Muammar Gaddafi.
The DHQ, in its breakdown, said 147 herdsmen were handed over to the Benue State Police Command, while 15 were handed over to the Taraba State Police Command since the Operation Ayem Akpatuma started on February 15.
Agim told newsmen on Saturday that the troops recovered guns and other weapons from the herdsmen and locals in the ongoing military exercise.
– Buhari linking herdsmen with Libya –
According to the military spokesman, many analysts expect the troops to seize weapons from the criminals, while not touching the residents.
He added that such measures would be “unfair because the military is in these two states and they are supposed to keep the peace and not to take sides with any faction.”
“We have handed over the suspects to the police. The rest is for the police to find out. If I start telling you whatever, I am doing the police’s job. Before the herdsmen are taken to court, the police would profile them appropriately and know where they get their training from.
“You must understand that the President of the country has a helicopter view of the country. He has a lot of information at his disposal. So, wherever they (the herdsmen) come from, they are causing havoc to our country and that is very important to us. And that is what all of us must fight to prevent.
“The President has disclosed this information based on the intelligence at his disposal and you cannot doubt that.”