Home » Troops Bust Illegal Arms Factory in Plateau State

Troops Bust Illegal Arms Factory in Plateau State

Security forces recover dozens of weapons and arrest one suspect in a raid on a remote village

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Nigerian military has uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in a mountainous area of Plateau State, arresting one suspect and seizing various types of firearms and equipment.

The operation was carried out by troops of Operation Safe Haven, a special task force in charge of maintaining peace and security in the state, which has witnessed recurrent clashes between farmers and herders, as well as attacks by armed groups.

According to a statement by the task force’s media officer, Capt. Oya James, the troops discovered the hidden facility on a high ground in Pakachi Village, Mangu Local Government Area, following a tip-off from local sources.

A significant haul of illicit weapons

The statement said the troops recovered five AK-47 rifles, four AK-47 magazines, 11 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five rounds of 9mm ammunition, 21 dane guns, four revolver rifles, 11 pistols with five magazines, 17 gun barrels, six rounds of 0.44 inch ammunition, and various tools and machines used for making weapons.

The troops also arrested a 25-year-old man, identified as Tapshak Plangji, who was suspected to be involved in the illegal activities at the factory. The alleged owner of the facility, Nuhu Meshack, was said to be on the run and efforts were underway to apprehend him.

The statement described the operation as a testament to the commitment of the troops in collaboration with other security agencies in the fight against illegal arms proliferation and criminal activities in the state. It also underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between security agencies and local communities in safeguarding the nation from threats posed by illicit arms production and trafficking.

A recurring challenge for security forces

This is not the first time that the Nigerian military has uncovered and dismantled an illegal weapon factory in Plateau State. In November 2023, the troops of Operation Safe Haven raided a similar facility in Vom, Jos South Local Government Area, based on actionable intelligence.

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons has been a major challenge for security forces in Nigeria, as they struggle to contain various forms of violence and insecurity across the country.

According to a 2023 report by the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Nigeria has an estimated 6.5 million illicit weapons in circulation, accounting for about 70 percent of the 10 million illegal weapons in West Africa.

The report also said that the sources of these weapons include smuggling from neighboring countries, diversion from official stockpiles, local fabrication, and theft from security personnel.

A ray of hope for peace and stability

The discovery and destruction of the illegal arms factory in Plateau State is a welcome development for the people of the state, who have long suffered from the scourge of violence and insecurity.

The state governor, Simon Lalong, has commended the troops of Operation Safe Haven for their gallantry and professionalism in carrying out the operation. He also urged the people of the state to cooperate with the security agencies and report any suspicious activities or persons to them.

The governor expressed his determination to restore peace and stability in the state, and to foster harmonious coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups.

He also reiterated his commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Plateau Peace Building Agency, which was established in 2023 to address the root causes of conflicts and promote dialogue and reconciliation.

The people of Plateau State have also expressed their hope that the operation will pave the way for a lasting peace and security in the state, and enable them to pursue their socio-economic activities without fear or hindrance.

Source: Punch


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