13 soldiers killed, seven injured in special operation in five northern states

Security forces kill kidnap kingpin linked to New Year massacre in Rivers

Defence headquarters (DHQ), has said 13 soldiers have so far been killed in the army special operation in most of the states in the North Central region facing attacks from bandits, insurgents, killer herdsmen, kidnappers and cattle rustlers.

The states include Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Taraba and Kaduna.

DHQ spokesman, Brigadier General John Agim, addressing newsmen in Abuja, said seven soldiers were also wounded in the operation.

In Benue alone, he said 147 herdsmen, six cultists, five cattle rustlers, six armed bandits were arrested.

Brigadier General Agim said the military is already overstretched in 36 states, particularly in state capitals, where it is assisting the police.

He explained that security forces could not be everywhere they are needed because they have no barracks in some places, particularly in the hinterland, in addition to logistic problems of moving them to distant places.

He said, “We have a situation at hand; there is military presence in all the 36 states, particularly in some state capitals, to support the police to maintain peace and attract investors.

“But the truth is that we don’t have barracks in some places and in the hinterlands. If there is trouble in parts of the hinterlands, it would be difficult to move soldiers there because of distance. So largely we depend on intelligence reports to respond to situations.  So some things happened in some places and people asked where the military was. We cannot be everywhere given the limited resources.”

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