George Okoh In Makurdiâ€¨
An undisclosed number of policemen and army personnel were at the weekend in Abaji in Katsina/Ala Local Government Area of Benue State allegedly killed by suspected gang members of a criminal gang leader, Terwase Agwaza, also known as Gana.
Some of the policemen were said to have been killed during an operation that led to the arrest of the second-in-command of the gang known as â€˜Bishopâ€™.
According to the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, following the massive manhunt for the wanted gang leader, the police had moved into Abaji to follow up on information of the planed murder and kidnap of selected persons in the area by the gang when they were attacked after the arrest of Bishop.
He said the police were on a massive manhunt for Gana and in the course of the operation, which took place last Saturday, his very close ally, Bishop, was captured at Abaji in Katsina/Ala.
â€œDuring that attack, one of our men (name withheld) was killed. But because we donâ€™t shoot in public places, we had to be careful to avoid collateral damage and the killing of innocent persons in such a situation.
â€œBut our operation still continues and we will not be deterred by this development.â€
The commissioner who allayed fears of the people of the area that innocent people could be arrested by security agencies in the course of the operation said. No innocent person should run from the community for fear of being arrested.
â€œIf people in that area are running and moving out in droves as being claimed, it is simply because of the fear of the unknown and maybe the fear of the consequence of hiding wanted criminals tormenting the area and indeed the entire state.
â€œWe will certainly not go after any innocent person, we know those we are after and not innocent persons.â€
The police commissioner said in the course of their investigation, they discovered that the gang had planned to kill the son of a Katsina/Ala-based businessman who was last week rescued by the police and also plotted to re-kidnap the businessman.
He appealed to the people of the state to desist from shielding members of the gang because doing so would certainly not be in their best interest.