Commander, Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) in charge of internal security in Plateau State and environs, Maj.-Gen. Augustine Agundu, said security has been beefed up for men in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps whose villages were abandoned out of fear to return home.
Gen. Agundu disclosed this, on Sunday, while addressing journalists, in Jos, and said they have established a Strike Force Base in those locations to provide security for the villages.
According to him, “We have provided security for men in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp who abandoned their villages to return home between now and December.
“The women and children will follow them home from early December to Christmas period.
“We had earlier set up a committee to assess the extent of destruction within the deserted villages and the possibility of establishing Strike Force Bases as a prelude to encouraging IDPs to return to their ancestral homes.
“The Committee undertook painstaking tour of 40 villages in which their findings categorised the villages into three.
“Villages that were abandoned out of fear of insecurity; villages that were attacked with some houses partially destroyed and villages that were attacked with some houses completely destroyed.
“We will ensure the return of IDPs for the villages abandoned out of fear in phase one from 20th November to 30th December, 2018, while the return of IDPs for villages attacked and some houses completely destroyed and not completely destroyed in phase two and three which will commence from 10th January to 5th March, 2019 and beyond.”
Gen. Agundu said seven villages, including Hei, Burdinga, Kuzen, Kazok, Razat, Zat and Bet; and Maraba Kantoma were villages that were abandoned out of fear.
He said 24 villages that were completely and partially destroyed includes; Kubong, Kedawan, Ratis, Kasa Shonong, Shonong, Najahai Shonong, Kufang, Mase, Nicha, Zim, Jong, Swai, Zargok, Jeko, Pwabiduk, Kaching, Nengon Gashish all in Gashish District of Barkin-Ladi Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state.
He expressed satisfaction with the zeal and courage exhibited by the IDPs to return home, saying the Command will move down with men to the villages abandoned due to fear this week and beefed up security in the area before returning women, children and the aged.
Gen. Agundu said the Command would establish Forward Operation Bases in strategic locations to dominate the general area in order to give confidence to the inhabitants to return home.