Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Troops of the newly launched Operation WHIRL STROKE (OPWS) operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states managed to kill 35 herdsmen over the weekend, even as a large number of them escaped with gun shot wounds.
Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, who disclosed this in a statement made available to Daily Sun on Monday, said the feat was achieved by troops carrying out clearance operations across Gwer West, Logo and Guma local government areas of Benue State.
Agim said that during the clearance operations, the OPWS troops made contact with heavily armed herdsmen around lower Benue and a militia camp at Chetarer village both in Benue State.
“The troops engaged the militia and followed the pursuit with M135 Helicopter of their air component. This led to a large number of them being neutralized. In all 35 herdsmen were neutralized and a large number of them escaped with gun shot injuries.”
Agim said that the OPWS lost one of its personnel who was killed in action (KIA), while two others who sustained slight injuries have been treated and discharged, even as a personnel was still missing in action at the time of filing this report.
Similarly, Agim said that following a tip off, OPWS troops ambushed a militia who were planning to attack Umaisha and Toto Villages in Nasarawa State during which a 1xG3 rifle, 193×17.62 mm NATO, 81xG3 rifle ammunition, a locally made pistol and 1 FN magazine, filled with rounds, were recovered and one militia member was killed.
In another development, one Abdullahi Adamu, suspected herdsman at Rukubi in Doma LGA of Nasarawa state was arrested in possession of an ID card of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Nasarawa State Command, and a photograph in which he posed with an AK47 rifle.
He added that the suspect is still under interrogation and would be handed over to the police for prosecution when preliminary investigations were concluded.
“Also, OPWS in Nasarawa State arrested one Musa Habu aged 32 years at Kolo close to Umiasha Toto Local Government Council. Items recovered from the suspect include one locally made pistol, two cartridges, one Techno phone and hundred and thirty naira only.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspected is linked with some suspected militia in the locality. The suspect has been handed over to the DSS for further necessary action,” Agim said.
He revealed further that OPWS sector 3 Taraba troops on patrol through Kwesati, Manya- Garagun axis, made contact with eight armed bandits who were arrested with two AK47 rifle, 1xK2 rifle and two locally made guns.
While listing ammunitions recovered from the armed bandits to include 56 rounds of 7.6mm, 25 rounds of k2, 3x cartridge, charms, phones amongst other items, the Defence spokesperson said the suspects and the recovered items would be handed over to DSS for further investigation.