From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A violent crisis has reportedly occurred, on Monday, following the killing of an Army colonel (Names withheld) around Federal Low Cost area in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
The Army Colonel was reportedly killed on Sunday afternoon.
According to sources in the area, the Army colonel who was in his uniform, was said to be on his way from Lagos heading toward Takum in Taraba State, but was accosted and killed by some gunmen around Sati Agirigi on Katsina-Ala-Takum Road.
At the time of filling this report, the situation was said to have sparked off crisis in the area as no fewer than 20 houses have been reportedly burnt by some soldiers who were on a supposed reprisal mission to avenge the death of their boss.
This, sources said, had left residents of Tomataan and Sati Agirigi communities, bothl in Kastina-Ala Local Government Area, scampering for safety as access to Takum from Katsina-Ala is now difficult as the soldiers were said to have blocked the road.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom, who confirmed the incident, stated that the Army colonel was killed by armed robbers and that the Rapid Response Squad comprising the Army, Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have been drafted to the area to both apprehend the culprits as well as restore normalcy to the area.
The governor, who said this during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adam Onum, at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, on Monday, however, debunked claims that soldiers were burning houses in the area, insisting that if there was any burning of houses, it would be the handiwork of hoodlums who cashed in on the matter to perpetrate their criminal acts.
His words, “I was told of the killing of a soldier in Katsina –Ala, on Monday. He was in uniform and coming from Lagos and going towards Tarkum in Taraba State. That created some crisis around the area. We were told the military men in the area went after the perpetrators but it is not so. We discovered that some mischief makers tried to cash in on the matter. We are on top of the situation. The case has been treated as armed robbery case.”
The governor urged everyone along the Katsina-Ala axis to go about their business without fear as the matter is being treated already stressing that his Security Adviser as well as the Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama were already on their way to the area.