Nigeria: Soldiers Parade Suspects in Plateau Killings

Nigerian soldiers.

The Special Military Task Force, "Operation Save Haven" on Wednesday paraded three suspects in connection with the latest killings in Plateau state that sparked national outrage.

The three men were said to have been arrested at Gashish District in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau.

The suspects were paraded in Jos alongside 14 others, who were arrested over the killings in which suspected herdsmen massacred over 86 people, mainly locals and farmers on June 24.

The 14 persons were arrested for what the military called recent "civil unrest" in the state.

But the STF did not give the names of the arrested suspects.

Eleven villages in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area and its environs were affected in the onslaught in which property worth billions of naira were also destroyed.

Parading the suspects, the spokesman of the STF, Umar Adams, told reporters that the suspects were arrested, clutching sophisticated rifles.

Mr Adams said two of the suspects were Fulani herdsmen and one Berom- one of the ethnic groups in Plateau -- currently at odds with Fulani herdsmen over grazing rights.

The deadly activities of herdsmen have raised concerns over the future of agriculture in north central Nigeria because of the recurring clashes with farmers.

Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States, the hotbeds of the killings, are key farming states in Nigeria.

Mr Adams said the suspects were arrested in the course of the attacks.

"We all know that some days back, some villages in Barkin Ladi were attacked and these three suspects were arrested in connection with that.

"As our men were repelling the attacks in those areas, we arrested these suspects with four rifles, three locally made guns and one AK47.

"The other 14 people were arrested in connection with civil unrest recently experienced in the state."

Mr Adams said the suspects were still being investigated and that more arrests would be made in the course of time.

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