The Nigeria military said on Monday that it had begun major operations in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States to end the activities of armed men and criminal gangs.
The director of defence information, Chris Olukolade, a major general, said in a statement that the operations would end the wanton killing and destruction of lives and property in the zone.
Olukolade said that troops had already been deployed for a major offensive which covered the three states of the North- Central.
He said that the internal security operation was meant to capture and neutralise all the enclaves of criminal gangs.
“The Nigerian Air Force, Police and other security agencies are also participating in the operation designed to restore peace in the affected states,” he said.
Olukolade charged law abiding citizens to cooperate with the military by providing timely and useful information to facilitate the operation as it affected their localities.
Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau states have witnessed increasing attacks in recent times and residents had initially thought the attackers were Fulani herdsmen, but now suspect have metamorphosed into a full-fledged terrorists.
The military operation comes about a week after more than 200 gunmen levelled communities in Guma local government in Benue State and killed at least 25 people in Gwer East local government of the state.
The Benue State deputy governor, Steven Lawani, had insisted that the gunmen unleashing terror on the state are not herdsmen but terrorists of a dangerous group who come from faraway Borno State.
In a major attack last month in Plateau State, at least 16 people were killed and 200 houses burnt in Torok, Gwon, Gwarama, Gwarim and Gida Biu villages in the Riyom and Langtang South local government areas of the state.