8 killed as troops repel attacks on 3 Benue communities, troops neutralise more in Zamfara

Five bandits were in the early hours of Sunday neutralised by troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) in Guma local government area of Benue state.

The bandits, said to be suspected herdsmen, launched attacks on three separate villages resulting in the death of three persons.

The affected villages include Torkula, Kponko and Kaseyo all in Mbadwem council ward of Guma local government area of the state.

Though Force Commander of OPWS, Major-General Adeyemi Yekini declined comment on the attack and referred our reporter to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Information Directorate, spokesman of the Benue state Police Command, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene said she was aware that timely intervention of joint military troops in Guma averted attack on some communities in the area Saturday.
Anene, however, said the command was yet to ascertain the number of casualties at the time of this report.

But a local in Guma who simply gave his name as Tyoyuha, said the attackers invaded three villages including Torkula, Kponko and Kaseyo in Mbadwem council ward around 2a.m. Sunday.

He said the invaders stormed the villages and started shooting sporadically in all directions, a development that resulted in killing of three people and injuring others in the process.

He explained that one person died on the spot during the attack while two others who were injured later died at the hospital bringing the total number of death to three.
He stated that when the troops heard about the attacks, they immediately tracked the invaders, but instead of the invaders running, they started exchanging gunfire with the troops.

 “As soon as troops of the OPWS heard about the attack, they swiftly went on the trail of the invaders and sighted them far in the bush.

“In fact, there was a fierce exchange of gunfire between the troops of the OPWS and the armed herdsmen during which five of the herdsmen were killed with no casualty on the side of the troops”, he said.

 The troops were also said to have recovered three weapons from the attackers.

 Some suspected herders reported killed residents of Itakpa town in Obi local government area of the state, killing many and injuring others.

Among those killed were a ward chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and an unidentified contestant in the just concluded local government elections in the state.

Bandits in Zamfara

Similarly, in continuation of clearance operations against cattle rustlers and criminals, troops of Operation Accord overran more bandits’ camps, killing scores and apprehending others in Zamfara.

Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major-General John Enenche said this in a statement in Abuja Sunday.

Enenche  said the troops of Operation Katsina under Operation Accord on June 5, intercepted a bandits’ gun-runner and logistics supplier at Mararraba Maigora in Faskari local government area of the state.

He said items such as 496 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and one Bajaj motorcycle were recovered during the operation.

The coordinator further said the troops killed three bandits and captured four in a cordon and search operation at Yauyau and Zandam villages.

He listed the recovered items to include; seven dane guns, three cell phones and two motorcycles recovered.

He stated that captured bandits were in custody for interrogations.

The statement said troops engaged fleeing bandits on Dunya-Dangeza road and recovered two dane guns and four motorcycles on June 6.

“Additionally, troops destroyed the Daban Jabi camp of a notorious Bandit leader known as Dan Jangeru.

“Also at Warnu village, two bandits were neutralised while others escaped with gunshot wounds, one AK47 rifle was recovered in the process.

“The military high command congratulates Operation Hadarin Daji and Air Component of Operation Accord, for their dexterity.

“The general public is requested to continue to provide timely and credible information that would assist in eliminating bandits and other criminal elements in the country,” he said. (NAN)

Operational changes

 MeanwhileMinister of Defence Major-General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) has expressed determination to change the modus operandi of the ministry to fast track attainment of set goals, vision and mission.

A statement made available to Blueprint by Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Publicity, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadri, quoted the minister as saying this  when he fielded questions from the State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja.

He said some of the issues raised in the course of the virtual session include the size of the manpower in the military and the need to improve funding for the ministry statutorily saddled to provide administrative and support services to the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“The minister told the State House Press crew that his presentation discussed, dissected and diagnosed the successes and challenges of each of the Military Operations ranging from Operation Lafia Dole in the North-east to Operation Tawase, all in aid to civil authority towards maintaining internal peace and harmony.”

He further said “changes are imminent in the conduct of the affairs in the Ministry of Defence as catalyst to improving service delivery as well as to equip, train and maintain high professional standards in tandem with global best practice.”

The minister expressed optimism that the challenges of the funds and manpower facing the nation’s defence sector were surmountable, saying they would soon be a thing of the past.

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