From Rose Ejembi Makurdi
Suspected armed bandits on Friday reportedly killed a member of the Benue State Livestock Guards.
One person has been killed and another badly injured after suspected armed bandits attacked a team of Benue State Livestock Guards and Agro Rangers of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Benue.
Security Adviser, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Saturday explained that the patrol team was attacked in Mballagh Council Ward of Makurdi Local Government Area on Friday evening.
Hemba said bandits had attacked and shot at the patrol team who were returning from patrol on motorcycles around the area which is close to the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering (NASME) Barracks.
“There was an incident of an attack on members of livestock Guards who went out on patrol in company of Agro Rangers to Mballah council wards close to NASME Barracks in Makurdi.
“They were ambushed by suspected armed bandits who laid ambush in the bush and suddenly opened fire on them killing one of them instantly and injuring another one badly.
He said the injured is currently recieving treatment at a hospital while the remains of the deceased victims had been deposited in the morgue.
“The deceased victim is a member of the Livestock Guards while the injured is a member of Agro Rangers.”
The Security Adviser who lamented the spate of armed attacks in the state recalled that all the attacks which were unprovoked.
“It seems that the armed bandits just decide to attack targeted communities. They are particularly targeting livestock Guards probably to discourage and intimidate them from carrying out their duties.
While noting that no arrest had been made, Hemba commended troops of the Military spike Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) who responded swiftly and moved into the area but added that the bandits had disappeared before they arrived.
“The armed men come in selected areas where they know that troops are not close. They carry out their nefarious act and then vanish into thin air. Though the scene of attack was not too far away from the baracks, it was still in a remote area.”
On his part, Linus Zaki, Livestock Guards’ Commander said the incidence happened at about 6pm while they were returning from patrol on motorcycles and suddenly they heard gunshots from both sides of the road.
“Yesterday, around 6pm, I went out with my men, on our way back, reaching a market called Zongo, we heard gunshot from both sides of the road. We jumped down from our bikes and started running. That was when one of my member was killed and member the agro ranger was also hit by the bullet.
“The armed men come in selected areas where they know that troops are not close. They carry out their nefarious act and then vanish into thin air.
He however vowed that they will not be discouraged by the attacks as they are determined to ensure that the Anti Open Grazing Law is totally enforced and obeyed.
“Firing at us will not make us leave our job. This is not the first time. We will not be discouraged from doing our work because we cannot leave our land to them. They have to respect our law,” Zaki said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene said she was yet to be briefed on the attack.