Authorities of the Nigerian Army have admitted that the military does not have adequate manpower to effectively tackle the escalating violence in parts of Southern Kaduna which several sources report have claimed hundreds of lives in the last few weeks.
The commander of”operation safe heaven” Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, informed reporters in Kaduna at the end of a security meeting that had the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El Rufai in attendance that the military is overstretched and may not be able to effectively respond to the escalating tensions in the state. He revealed that the military is still strategising on how to boost security in the area.
The commander said more soldiers will be deployed in the area to tackle the “criminal elements” responsible for the killings and destruction in the area.
“What we have were attacks on some communities and reprisal attacks. You have Kataf youths, Fulani militias and the criminal elements of both sides,” Okonkwo said.
“Any incident is enough to spark off crisis in that area; there have been lingering disputes and animosities, banditry and cattle rustling there.
“We have reviewed our operations. We are going to close ranks. We are going to be more robust in the days to come. If one or two attacks took place, three were prevented. If you know the area very well, the communities are far and dispersed, they are several kilometres apart from each other. The terrain is difficult to access with vehicles.
“And we have limitation of manpower but of course you know that we are committed. But be that as it may, we are going to get more troops. We are strategising, we will deploy as much as possible to shorten our response time. Perhaps, we used to respond a bit late, but if we had not responded, we could have had more casualties.”
Okonkwo advised communities in Southern Kaduna to embrace peace, adding that a conducive atmosphere will be created for them to meet, dialogue and resolve issues amicably.