Benue killings
Maj. Gen. Yekini and his team in the affected communities

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The Defence Headquarters has vowed to track down the masterminds of last Monday’s attack on communities in Guma, Tarka and Logo Local Government Areas, LGAs, of Benue state that claimed 25 lives.

The Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General Adeyemi Yekini gave the assurance weekend when he led a delegation of military personnel including the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Kevin Aligbe and the Security Adviser to the Governor Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (retd.) on a fact finding mission to Tiortyu and Tse Sumeka near Umenge in Tarka and Guma LGAs respectively.

Addressing the media after tour, Gen. Yekini said he was sent on a fact finding mission by the Chief of Defence Staff, “I am here on the authority of the Chief of Defence Staff. He directed a team led by me to come here and find out what happened.

“I understand that people were killed in these communities. But as to who and who is responsible is not too clear to me.

“But whichever group it is will be tracked down and neutralized accordingly. The Chief of Defence Staff has given me the directive and I have passed the directive to the Commander of OPWS to find those who were responsible for the attacks, track them down and bring them to justice. Swift, fast justice. That is why I am here.

“All options are open. Our intelligence unit is working to unmask those who were responsible for the attack. And we will go after them decisively.

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“To a large extent, we can say that there is relative peace in Benue. Of course, there’s still occasional attacks by bandits and all that but when you look at the overall security situation in Benue, one can say there is relative peace in the state.

“However, there is still need for improvement. Troops are restrategizing, they’re reviewing their tactics and their  deployment and they are taking all other measures that I cannot mention here to ensure that we put a permanent end to this kind of killings.

“Some few criminals cannot hold Nigerians to ransom. The instruction is clear; track them down and kill them. The President has made it clear that anybody found with weapons should be killed and that instruction has been passed to me and I have passed same to the operations commanders to unmask these people and bring them to swift justice.

Receiving the delegation at the market square, the traditional ruler of Tiortyu, the Tyo Shitile, Chief Sabastian Hule lamented that his subjects had fled their homes after the attack.

Chief Hule said: “They have been running from one place to the other since the attack because no one is sure of what will happen. But your coming has given us assurance that we are safe.

“We are happy and grateful that you visited our community to see things for yourself and we are holding unto your promise to ensure the safety of my people who have running helter-skelter since the incident.”

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