The Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major-General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, has described the killings in the southern part of Kaduna as the activities of criminal elements and not ethnic cleansing as insinuated in some quarters.
General Okonkwo, who spoke while briefing journalists after a high level security meeting at the Kaduna State Government House yesterday said: “What we have were attacks on some communities and reprisal attacks.’’
He disclosed that both sides of the conflict had been attacking each other but “the reports are not balanced. Perhaps, because most of the media houses don’t know, both sides are actually involved in the conflict.
“You have Kataf youths, Fulani militia and the criminal elements of both sides. Some people are also leveraging on the security situation to perpetuate criminal activities, aside communities involved in the crisis”.
The commander also said “any incident is enough to spark off crisis in that area, they have been lingering disputes and animosities, banditry and cattle rustling there.’’
He, however, promised that the military and other security agents will re-strategise and “will deploy as much as possible to shorten our response time.”
Okonkwo assured the people that there was going to be improvement because “we have reviewed our operations. We are going to close ranks. We are going to be more robust in the days to come.’