Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) – the multi-security task force in charge of the security situation in parts of southern Kaduna – on Tuesday, said the insecurity bedevilling the area was orchestrated by criminal elements from both sides of the conflict and not ethnic cleansing as erroneously reported by a section of the media.
The OPSH Commander, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, who spoke with journalists after a high level security meeting at the council chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, said: “what we have were attacks on some communities and reprisal attacks.”
- Kaduna violence: Muslim, Christian leaders want urgent FG intervention
- Why insecurity persists in southern Kaduna — El-Rufai
General Okonkwo, who is also in charge of the security situation in Plateau and parts of Bauchi state, explained that both sides of the conflict in southern Kaduna have been involved in a tit-for-tat attack and stressed that media reports on the incidents have not been balanced.
“Perhaps, most of the media houses don’t know that both sides are actually involved,” he said.
“You have Kataf youths, Fulani militias and the criminal elements of both sides.
“Some people are also leveraging on the security situation to perpetuate their criminal activities, aside communities involved in the crisis,” Okonkwo added.
The commander said the slightest incident was enough to spark a crisis in the southern Kaduna area which “already has lingering disputes and animosities as well as banditry and cattle rustling.”
Disputing allegations that the military and other security agents have not done enough to contain the attacks, General Okonkwo argued that “if one or two attacks took place, three were prevented.”
“There is going to be improvement,” the commander assured, adding that “we have reviewed our operations and we are going to close ranks.
“We are going to be more robust in the days to come.”
He admitted that gaps existed in some of their operations as a result of the difficult terrain and limited manpower but said the task force was committed to bringing peace to the general area.