Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Two suspected militia herdsmen have been reportedly killed and another injured during an exchange of heavy gunfire with the joint military Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
Daily Sun reports that the OPWS recovered one AK47 rifle with 20 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition from the invaders who stormed Gyungwu Amua village Tuesday night.
Two members of the affected village are also said to have been injured during the exchange of gunfire between the herdsmen and the troops.
Sources from the area who spoke with our correspondent by telephone say the armed herdsmen had invaded the village from Nasarawa State and were planning to launch an attack on the community when the attention of the troops stationed in Guma was drawn to the development.
One of our sources who gave his name as Jonah said that as soon as the troops were informed, they swiftly moved to the area and laid an ambush for the armed herdsmen who, at that point, were battle-ready to unleash mayhem on the village.
Another source who gave his name as Hedejume Abur told newsmen via phone that the herdsmen numbering about seven had been armed with sophisticated weapons at the time they were sighted in the village.
‘We sighted the herdsmen at Gyungwu Amua village at about 7:30 pm yesterday (Tuesday),’ Abur narrated, ‘and with the way they looked and were kitted, it was obvious that they were planning to attack the village. So, we quickly put a distress call across to the troops of OPWS and we are happy that the troops swiftly responded and went towards the direction of the invaders to lay an ambush for them.
‘The armed herders, unfortunately [for them], ran into the troops while moving in to attack the village. From our hiding place, we saw that without a waste of time, on sighting the troops, the herders opened fire on the troops and the troops responded with superior firepower.
‘After a heavy exchange of gunfire between them, the troops dislodged the armed herdsmen, killing two and injuring one of them. l saw their dead bodies because the army brought them back into the village with the AK-47 rifle and 20 round of ammunition.
‘I want to really commend OPWS troops in Benue State for the effort they are putting in place to ensure that the security situation in Guma local government area of the state is brought under control. I must say they have done so much for us in Benue,’ Abur said.
OPWS troops stationed in Agatu last Saturday reportedly arrested one local militia leader popularly known as “Alhaji Audu” from Olegeje community, recovering one AK-47 rifle and 60 round of ammunition from him during a communal clash in the area.
When contacted, OPWS Force Commander Maj-Gen Adeyemi Yekini declined to comment on the Guma attack but referred journalists to the Defense Head Quarters (DHQ) Information Department.
Also contacted, the Benue State Police Command spokeswoman DSP Catherine Anene said she was yet to receive any report of attack from Guma at the time of this report.