About 182 suspects have been arrested in Benue, Taraba and Kaduna States during the conduct of “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma’’ by the Nigerian Army in the volatile areas.
The Director, Defence Information (DDI), Brig.-Gen. John Agim, announced the figure, while giving update on the just-concluded exercise, which also covered Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi states.
Agim said the army lost 13 personnel during the exercise, which began on February 15 and ended on April 5, while seven others sustained various degrees of injury.
Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) was conducted to assist civil authority to address the recurring farmers/herdsmen clashes and other forms of crimes in the six states.
However, the exercise was extended in Taraba till May 14 in view of the prevailing security threats in the state, according to Agim.
Giving the breakdown of arrests, the DDI said 147 herdsmen, six cult members, five rustlers and six armed bandits were apprehended in Benue and 15 suspects in Taraba.
According to him, in 1 Division Area of Responsibility (Kaduna), 13 bandits were arrested during the period.
“All the arrested suspects have been handed over to the Police for further action,’’ Agim said
He said the following weapons were recovered in Benue while the exercise lasted: one AK47 rifle, one FN rifle, three AK47 magazines and nine rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
Other recoveries in the state, he said were: 23 rounds 7.62mm Nato ammunition; 13 Dane guns; 38 machetes; several spear/axes and assorted charms.
Also recovered in Benue, Agim said, were 18 motorcycles and 15 cell phones.
In Taraba, the DDI said four AK47 rifles; three magazines; 96 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition; eight rounds of 9mm ammunition and 19 locally made guns were recovered.