Soldiers on Wednesday killed 12 people suspected to be members of a militia who ambushed some soldiers in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State.
Daily Trust gathered that the troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), had on Tuesday reportedly staged a manhunt for the attackers of their colleagues in the rural community.
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The militia had allegedly seized some soldiers who were deployed to maintain peace between two warring communities of Konshisha and Oju local governments.
The soldiers were deployed to the area following fresh hostilities which broke out between the Bonta community in Konshisha LGA and Ukpute-Ainu in Oju LGA over an age-long land dispute.
Witnesses said the soldiers who went in search of their missing colleagues on Tuesday, combed the suspected attackers’ hideouts and neutralized at least 12 of them.
The witnesses said that the soldiers struck their attackers aerially and with ground support during which some houses in the area were destroyed.
“We saw an Air Force helicopter hover around Bonta community while soldiers on the ground fired gunshots.
“A lot of houses were destroyed. The villagers have fled their abodes and even people of the neighbouring communities are running away,” a witness who declined to have his name on print, said.
But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, told newsmen in Makurdi that she was not aware of any such raid by the military in Konshisha just as the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Adeyemi Yekini, declined comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom, has assured that his administration would do everything under the law to ensure that peace returned to the warring communities.
Ortom, while briefing journalists on Wednesday after an expanded security council meeting with stakeholders from the two local government areas, reiterated the need for Benue people to support security agents deployed to end the crisis in their areas.
He admonished the people against attacks on security agents, stressing that such acts would make the situation extremely difficult to contain.
The governor noted that as part of measures to nip the land dispute between Konshisha and Oju in the bud, it was agreed that the boundary be demarcated and a day was fixed for the exercise.
He stressed that a few days to the agreed date, crisis erupted again and security agents were deployed to control its escalation when the troops sent to Konshisha came under attack with two military personnel still missing.