From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Security Council, yesterday, confirmed that militia men were responsible for the Easter Monday’s killing of 12 soldiers who were deployed to ensure peace in the crisis between Konshisha and Oju local government areas of the state.
This formed part of the resolution reached at the end of the expanded Security Council Meeting on the killing of soldiers in Konshisha, held at the Government House, in Makurdi, which had in attendance stakeholders from the Konshisha Local Government Area of the state.
Reading out the resolutions to newsmen, Governor Samuel Ortom said, “the meeting condemned, in strong terms, the killing of the soldiers, and expressed condolences to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff and families of the officers and men.
“The meeting confirmed that six persons, including two militia members, died during the search for the missing soldiers. The meeting also advised stakeholders to restrain themselves from making inflammatory statements and allow the government and security agencies to handle the matter.
“The meeting tasked traditional rulers and other stakeholders to ensure that all the weapons taken from the murdered soldiers are returned unconditionally,” the governor stated, adding that, “as soon as the arms are returned, the State Security Council will review the situation.”
“To end the lingering crisis between Oju and Konshisha, the meeting resolved that the demarcation of the boundary between the two local government areas be carried out as soon as possible.
“The meeting resolved that all those involved in the killing of the soldiers should be arrested and prosecuted.
“The meeting appreciated the military for accepting the plea of the State Government not to further escalate the destruction of lives and property of innocent citizens in the affected communities of Konshisha. The meeting equally appreciated traditional rulers and other stakeholders for ensuring that some of the arms returned and urged them to do more for the recovery of all the weapons.”
Daily Sun observed that the meeting was attended by former Senator for Benue North East Constituency, Barnabas Gemade, and House of Representatives Member for Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal constituency, Herman Hembe, the CAN Chairman, Rev. Akpen Leva, traditional rulers, religious leaders as well as opinion leaders from the area.