Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The military spike Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) says it has recovered a total of 178 assorted weapons and 3,569 ammunition of different calibers from bandits in the last one year.
Force Commander of OPWS, Major Gen. Adeyemi Yekini who disclosed this during a press conference to mark one year anniversary of the operation in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa stated that over 140 armed bandits were neutralised across the three states within the year under review.
Yekini said 41 weapons and 1,293 ammunition were recovered in Benue State, 127 weapons and 2,235 ammunition were recovered in Nasarawa State while 10 weapons and 41 ammunition were recovered in Taraba State.
“These feat were achieved through deliberate mopping up of small arms and light weapons used by the militia to terrorise the people.”
The force Commander noted that although more battles were fought in Benue, more arms were recovered from Nasarawa State.
“It will be seen from the statistics that more arms and ammunition were recovered from Nasarawa State than the other states although more operations were conducted in Benue State within the one year period.
He listed other achievements recorded by OPWS in the past one year to include arrest of 171 militia elements including armed herdsmen and criminals linked to the wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias ‘Gana’.
“Gana’s associates including his wife, spiritual leader and close confidants were neutralized while Gana has fled out of his so called areas of influence in Katsina Ala.”
Yekini revealed further that over 250,000 internally displaced persons (lDPs) including 215,000 in Benue, 30,000 in Taraba and 5000 in Nasarawa have returned home since the inception of OPWS while 38 identified militia camps were destroyed across the Joint Operation Area (JOA).
He said the operation also effected the Peaceful resolution of protracted conflicts among the five ethnic groups in Lau, the Tivs and Fulanis in Wukari LGAs of Taraba State, Shitile and Ukum clans in Katsina Ala, Ukum and Logo LGAs of Benue State as well as between Tivs and Fulani ethnic groups in Keana and Awe LGAs of Nasarawa State.
Yekini commended the government and people of the thee states for their support and cooperation which brought about the successes recorded by the OPWS so far and appealed for more of such support to enable his troops clear the states of criminal elements.