From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Gunmen suspected to be loyal to notorious Benue warlord Terwase Akwaza (aka “Gana”) on Thursday morning reportedly raided Tse Harga community in Katsina-Ala, killing the a police officer in the attack.
Troops of military Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) in collaboration with the police, however, neutralised one of the suspects who was caught with over 200 rounds of ammunition.
The targeted community, Tse Harga, is part of the Sankera axis of Benue where loyalists of the deceased militiaman have been holding sway, a development that has compelled the state government to place a dusk to dawn curfew as well as a ban the use of motorcycles and Toyota Corollas, popularly known as “Duck Yansh”, to avert further criminal and armed bandit incursions into the area.
Sankera comprises of the three local government areas of Logo, Ukum and Katsina-Ala which have been a hotbed of violent attacks for some time.
Sources from Harga community who spoke to reporters by telephone but asked to remain anonymous said the attackers arrived at about 4 am while the people were asleep.
‘We noticed the presence of the attackers and we quickly alerted the DPO who also mobilised and swiftly moved to the area to find out what was happening,’ the source said.
‘Unfortunately, as soon as they sighted the policemen, the gunmen opened fire on them, killing one of the policemen in the process.
‘It was at that point that we quickly alerted troops of OPWS who were stationed at Gbishe close to us here in Harga, and they wasted no time in responding to our calls.
‘As I speak with you now, the military are on the trail of the attackers and we are hearing from the grapevine that one of them who was caught with several ammunition has been killed by the troops in a joint operation with the Nigeria Police.’
Confirming the report, Council Chairman of Katsina-Ala Alfred Atera disclosed that one policeman was killed in the attack, with the police station and some houses burnt by the attackers.
When contacted, OPWS Commander Maj-Gen Adeyemi Yekini told newsmen on phone that he cannot comment on an ongoing operation.
‘We are in operation around that axis but I can’t comment further on an ongoing operation. You may wish to contact the Directorate of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, thanks,’ Yekini said.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Police Command has confirmed the attack on Tse Harga and the killing of the policeman.
Spokeswoman DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident, noted that the details of the attack was still incomplete and promised to get back to reporters.