May 10, 2021

Troops storm Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba forests, to flush out killer herders, bandits


Nigerian soldiers

Nigerian soldiers

…Bandits kill 11 in reprisal on Katsina community

…As gunmen kill community leader, wife, daughter-in-law in Kaduna

…Emir of Daura suspends Sallah activities

By Peter Duru

A 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 killer herders in forests and communities located in the states.

This came as bandits, Saturday, killed 11 persons at Tsatstkiya in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State, even as gunmen killed a community leader, his wife and sister-in-law in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, same day.

Though no formal statement has been issued to that effect by the Commander of 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.

The source explained that the operation would also be covering islands behind the Nigerian 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.

It disclosed that the armed herders only recently ambushed military personnel on duty behind the NASME barracks, assuring that the operation would be used to flush them out.

‘‘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, terrorises the locals,” the source added.

It further urged members of the public, particularly those in Makurdi, where helicopters had been flying very low, to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear.

According to him, the operation is targeted at specific locations, to bring about peace in all communities of the three states to enable farmers return 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.

Similarly, bandits on Saturday killed eleven people at Tsatstkiya in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State.

The bandits also wounded three others currently receiving treatment in a Dutsin-ma town hospital.

Residents said the bandits were on a reprisal over the recent killing of one of their informants in the community.

The said informant was said to have been killed four days ago in a nearby community called Hakon Kartakawa.

The bandits were also said to have invaded the community on motorcycles, armed with sophisticated weapons.

“The bandits stormed Tsatstkiya and killed people to send messages to people in the community that they were unhappy over the killing of one of their informants at Hakon Kartakawa,” said a resident.

It was gathered that the bandits left the community after killing the victims without looting any item.

Spokesman for the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, confirmed the incident but gave no further details.

Also, gunmen killed at least three persons in an attack  in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State late Saturday night.

Those killed include the secretary to the Ward Head of Golkofa in Jemaa Local Government, Sergeant Christopher Madaki, retd, his wife and the daughter-in- law.

It was gathered that while the community leader, his wife, Mary, and his son’s wife, Alice, were confirmed dead, his son, Clement Musa Madaki, survived the attack but not without sustaining injuries inflicted by the gunmen.

Confirming the incident in a statement yesterday, Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the gunmen invaded the residence of the retired military officer on Saturday night, opening fire on the victims.

Aruwan also said irate youth killed a man identified as Abba Muhammad in Kachia Local Government Area of the state.

He said the man was accused of killing Hamidu Nura, an act which angered the youths, forcing them to seize Muhammad and in the process stabbed him with knives and other dangerous weapons until he died.

Aruwan said the security agencies were currently investigating the two incidents in order to ascertain what led to their deaths.

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He also disclosed that security agencies had made some arrests of notorious bandits across the state in different operations.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Daura, Dr Faruk Umar, has suspended activities marking the end of the Ramadan fast in the emirate council, citing security reasons for the development.

The royal father instead, directed district heads in the council to join the people in their domains to pray for peace in Nigeria.

Among the affected activities is the procession(Durbar) to the Emir’s Palace on Sallah Day. The Emir also directed that no district head should visit him on that day.

The directive was contained in a circular dated May 6, 2021, and addressed to the district heads in the emirate.

The circular, signed by Danejin Daura, Alhaji Abdulmimini Sahihu, was also confirmed by the spokesman for Daura Emirate Council, Usman Ibrahim.

It read:  “The Emir instructed me to inform you that, due to the insecurity in the country, kidnappings for ransom and other threats to national stability, the usual Sallah Durbar will not hold this Eid-el-Fitr.

“Instead, the focus will be on performing special prayers on the Sallah day as soon as the Eid prayers are performed.”

The circular further said the royal father had instructed the district heads to conduct the Eid prayers with people in their domain and offer special prayers for lasting peace in the country immediately after the Eid prayer.

“You are by this notice to inform all the Imams to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari (Bayajida II) and other leaders for protection from all evils of the enemies of progress of this country, its stability and its corporate existence,” the circular added.

Vanguard News Nigeria