The Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja, has warned residents of troubled Mangu Local Government of Plateau State to submit all illegally acquired weapons or risk being killed.

The army chief warned on Saturday during a meeting with representatives of ethnic and other groups held at Pilot Primary School in Mangu town.

More than 300 persons have been reportedly killed, and about 80,000 persons were displaced from 11 communities in the area since clashes between farming communities and pastoralists in the area started in late April.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the major interest groups in the area, including the Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA) and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam from the area.

The meeting, according to the Nigerian army, was part of the continued efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis that had engulfed the town and surrounding communities.

During the meeting, the army chief advised residents of the area to submit all illegally acquired weapons or risk being killed.

“We have youth carrying illicit small arms and light weapons all over the place, here in Mangu and the entire state. If you have your children carrying weapons. Call them to order as quickly as possible. Collect those weapons from them and submit them to the military. If you don’t do that, they will get killed, and they get killed, there would be no compensation,” Mr Lagbaja, a major general, said.

“So, collect the arms from them and warn them. The government has the charge, the responsibility to organise, train and equip and maintain the military, which is in the hands of the government. And the government has done that. The law does not allow you to hold military weapons. Report your problem to the appropriate channel, ” he added.

Mr Lagbaja further drew the attention of the residents to the effects of violence on the children’s future, adding that with crisis, their children will not have the opportunity to become leaders of tomorrow.

Representatives of the Mwaghavul and Fulani communities explained some of their differences.

“If they agree that we are peaceful people, they must be responsible that there must be some outsiders. Because so long as we don’t tell each other the truth, this will continue. If my dear brother, the chairman of Miyetti Allah, is telling the truth, he must reflect that in action,” Joseph Gwankat, National President of MDA, said.

“All Fulani herders in the area of Ampan and Mongul district have been chased away. I don’t know where they are at the moment. If what we are saying is true, what have the Fulanis in these areas done to deserve what they have witnessed? I am the leader of Fulani in the LGA; if something happens in some of the areas where Fulanis were chased away, who should I call to investigate? We have to stop this. It wouldn’t take us anywhere,” Bellow Shanono, MACBAN chairman, Mangu, said.

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