A deadly clash between armed Fulani herdsmen and men of the Nigerian Army’s newly formed “Operation Whirl-Stroke” last Sunday night in Logo local government area of Benue state left at least five soldiers dead.
The attackers also set ablaze the army patrol vehicle during the clash which saw hordes of local inhabitants mainly women, children and the older people deserting their communities.
Also in the wee hours of yesterday (Monday) the Fulani militia group numbering more than 50, invaded the Mchia settlement in the local government area and killed five farmers.
Mchia is few kilometres away from Anyiin town, the homestead of former Governor Gabriel Suswam.
The soldiers were said to have arrived the scene of the attack hours after the operation had been executed. Corpses of the slain officers were reportedly moved to the morgue in Anyiin, headquarters of the local government.
New Telegraph gathered that the killing of the soldiers came following an attempt by the army personnel to foil a plot by the assailants to attack Logo village at Tseke, a border community between Taraba and Benue States in Mbawar kindred of Gaambe-Tiev in the area.
The invaders were reported to have abducted two officers of the Nigerian Army and taken to an unknown destination. Many people are reported to have been seriously wounded in the twin attacks with several houses also burnt.
Sources in the area told journalists that “the community is a Tiv/Jukun settlement and it is a border community where you can hardly draw a borderline between Benue and Taraba states, and so far corpses of two soldiers have been recovered and their patrol vehicle burnt”.
“We also heard that some of the soldiers were still unaccounted for which means that the casualty figure might be higher when the true picture of the attack becomes clearer”.
The latest attack and killing came less than 24 hours after six persons, among them, some teachers of Makurdi Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) were gruesomely killed by Fulani herdsmen near Ikpayongo, Gwer local government area of the state.
The teachers, it was gathered reportedly went to the area last Wednesday to inspect some farmland for rice cultivation under the umbrella of a cooperative society but were ambushed by the armed herdsmen who immediately opened fire on them and killed all of them.
Four of the teachers managed to escape with wounds while six others were not so lucky as they were said to have been killed and their bodies dismembered by the herdsmen.
Chairman of Logo local government area, Mr. Richard Nyajo who confirmed the killing of the soldiers to journalists, explained that the incident which happened between 7 am and 8 am on Sunday night claimed the life of one soldier on the spot while the other soldier was critically injured and might not make it.
“It happened in Logo local government area. I gave them a base at Gov in Mbagegh Council ward of Logo local government. So in the course of carrying out their peacekeeping operation, they went into the bush and I don’t know whether the herdsmen heard about them, they came behind and entangled them and opened fire on them.
“They burnt one of their patrol vehicles, injured some of them, took some alive and killed one person but the second person was seriously injured and might not make it alive because he was in bad shape”.
“Though one was said to be missing we hope to get a clearer picture of the situation including the actual number of deaths because when an attack scatter a group of people like it happened and some are missing you cannot just conclude on the casualty figure”.
“But surely some were killed and some were abducted. Though many among those that were missing escaped alive”.
Efforts by New Telegraph to get the operational base of the Operation Whirl Stroke to confirm the report were not successful as the person who picked the call declined to comment on the matter.
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