The Nigerian Army has announced the arrest of a major Boko Haram suspect, Aminu Yaminu, who is “believed to have masterminded most of the recent attacks in Benue State.
Yaminu who is nicknamed Tashaku was arrested on Friday in Makurdi, the state capital by a combined team of troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services, the army said in a statement.
“Following an intelligence report, it was gathered that Aminu has concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch a major attack on innocent citizens in Benue State,” the statement by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, read in part.
He said the arrest was part of efforts of the Nigerian Army to rid Benue State of criminal elements.
“As earlier reinstated, Nigerian Army will ensure enemies of peace in the state are brought to justice. Nigerian Army encourages all law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without fear,” he added.
The army called on citizens to provide it and other security agencies with timely information that could lead to the arrests of criminal elements in the society.
It is alleged that Tashaku has used his position as the head of the Joint Benue/Nasarawa Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) to gather key security information.
He then leaked these information to Boko Haram who have been carrying out various attacks.
Since January 2018 when suspected herdsmen attacked communities in Benue killing 73 persons, the state has witnessed an upsurge in attacks and killings with thousands displaced and many more living in fear.
On Tuesday, this week, gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Gwer East Local Government Area killing two priests and 17 worshippers. Hours after, a community in Guma LGA was attacked and 13 persons were killed.
Presidency Blames ‘Evil’ Benue Killings On Unnatural Herdsmen
The continued killings had led to outrage and both the House of Representatives and the Senate have summoned President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of lawmakers over what is being done to halt the attacks and killings.
Amid tension in the state on Thursday, the police issued a statement urging residents of the state to be law abiding and denying reports that mosques were attacked as a reprisal for the recent killings.