The Benue State Government has confirmed that some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state have started returning to their homes.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja, made the confirmation on Friday at a news conference in Makurdi.
”Since the commencement of the military operation on May 18, the spate of attacks has reduced, with the invaders chased away, allowing some of those displaced to return to their homes, though their homes were reduced to rubble and their means of livelihood destroyed.
”This feat is being achieved at a great expense, with some of those involved in the operation paying the supreme sacrifice while others have suffered various degrees of injuries.
”Our hearts go out to these gallant patriots, who have demonstrated unequalled commitment to providing security for their fatherland, as well as all the families who have lost loved ones,” the official said.
He also expressed appreciation to security agencies involved in the operation for effectiveness in curtailing killings in the state.
”We wish to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for responding to our call to upgrade and replace the military exercise, Ayem Akpatuma, with a full scale military operation.
”Our call was necessitated by the need to flush out blood-thirsty herdsmen militia who invaded several communities in the state since January.
”The Benue State Emergency Management Agency registered more than 180, 000 displaced persons which it has been catering for in eight camps while over 500, 000 IDPs are taking shelter wherever they find space,” he said.
He appealed to Benue people and others with information useful for the operation to make it available.
”On our part, we pledge full cooperation with provision of logistics that will support the operation.
”We urge the operation to continue to abide and execute orders as stated by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim.
“These include to track, fish out and come down heavily on the camps of the militants, and to shoot and kill any cow used as a shields,’’ he said.