Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai in a several-week belated response to the Agatu genocide has purposely blamed cattle-rustlers.
Over 500 Nigerians were killed over the course of several weeks as Fulani Boko Haram herdsmen ravaged communities under the watch of the authorities.
Thousands were displaced and millions in property and farms burned down by the terrorists while Nigeria’s police and army back-up refused to intervene.
Commenting at Otukpo in Benue state, a reluctant Army Chief said,
“The crisis here is unfortunate, the farmers and herdsmen fighting must not be condoned. I have heard from the commander about the existence of criminal elements who engage in cattle rustling.
“We have observed the deployment of troops on ground, we are adjusting our troops deployment to take care of the flashpoints and likely areas where the criminals are hiding,’’
Purposely referring tot he massacre as “clashes,” Buratai said measures had been adopted to ensure that the clashes did not repeat and the people return to their settlements. He, however, noted that the troops were cooperating with other security agencies to restore peace and order in the area.
Army Reluctant To Act
It is recalled that when the army Chief met protesters in Zaria who were protesting a military action a year earlier that killed dozens of their members and were in apprehension that the army was stationed again at their frontage to massacre them, the Army chief within hours deployed battalions from Kaduna and as far as Abuja for a swift extra-handed flagitious action that left as many as 1000 Nigerians dead in Zaria.
The same Army chief has been dragging his feet and according to the latest reports is just stationing troops to check and not arrest the Fulani-Boko Haram perpetrators. The new “stationing” of troops comes after Senators and other lawmakers have protested and accused the government of insensitivity to the plight of the people and permitting the Fulani continue their ethnic cleansing.