By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The joint military operation covering Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, has commenced a 7-day operation in the three states to clear bandits and armed herders in forests and communities located in the states.
Though no formal statement has been issued to that effect by the Commander of the OPWS, Brig. Gen. Clement Apere, a military source told reporters yesterday in Makurdi that the operation became necessary to check the incessant attacks on communities in Benue state particularly by armed herdsmen.
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He explained that the operation would also be covering islands behind the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering, NASME, barracks in Makurdi and Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area of Benue state which were identified as locations usually used as hideouts by armed herders from Nasarawa state before they launch attacks on unsuspecting victims in the state.
He disclosed that the armed herders only recently ambushed military personnel on duty behind the NASME barracks assuring that the operation will be used to flush them out.
According to him, “the clearing operation will also be covering the Sankera axis of of Benue state which is Logo, Ukum and Katsina-Ala LGAs down to Yoyo River and Kwente in Kwande LGA of Benue state where an armed militia, led by one Chekere alias Azonto terrorizes the locals.”
He urged members of the public particularly those in Makurdi where helicopters have been flying very low to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear stressing that the operation was targeted at specific locations to bring about peace in all communities of the three states to enable farmers go back to their farms.
The source assured that the outcome of the ongoing operation would be made known by the military high command at the appropriate time.