- Military apprehends 11 suspected bandits, recovers 37 weapons
Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
Tears and anger overwhelmed Nasarawa community wednesday as 16 victims of the suspected Fulani herdsmen massacred in community were laid to rest in Kochum-Numa village of AKwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
This is coming as troops of the ‘Operation Whirl Strokes’ said it has apprehended11 suspected bandits and recovered 37 assorted weapons during its recent operation in the state.
A total of 16 out of the 17 victims of the attack were buried after the performance of Christian rites.
One of the deceased, believed to be a Muslim, was the Disco Jokey at the naming ceremony where the suspected Fulani militias attacked and killed the celebrants last Sunday, and was buried according to Islamic rites a day after the mass killings.
The mass burial which was held in the afternoon after the deceased bodies were removed from the Akwanga General Hospital mortuary to the village for final internment, was a moment of grief for both family members, relatives, friends and other sympathisers as they were seen weeping profusely over the gruesome departure of their loved ones.
It was reported that no fewer than 17 persons were gruesomely massacred last Sunday night when suspected Fulani herders opened fire on them in Kochum-Numa village in Akwanga council area while they a naming ceremony was taking place, even as several others were wounded and are currently receiving treatment at different hospitals across the state.
The state Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, paid a condolence to the traditional ruler of Mada, Samson Gamu-Yare, before being led to the Akwanga General Hospital where most of the deceased bodies were kept, and sympathised with families of the victims and the Mada people, pledging his government’s commitment to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act within days.
Al-Makura pleaded with the affected people to remain calm while the law enforcement agencies carry out investigations and possible arrest of the culprits.
Meanwhile, troops of the Operation Whirl Strokes said they have apprehended 11 suspected bandits and recovered 37 assorted weapons during its recent operation in the state.
Commander of the troops, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, disclosed this yesterday in Lafia at a press briefing, adding that there were nine operations that the troops carried out in the past five weeks from March 9 to April 17 in the state.
The commander explained that the operation covered four local government areas of Nasarawa State-Toto, Doma, Obi and Awe, where the 37 weapons were recovered.
According to him, “The recovered items are four AK-47 riffles, two G3 riffles, one Clarion 5.56 Israeli Commando Assort rifle, one submachine gun, three pistols and 20 locally made pistols.”
“In addition to that, we recovered 389 rounds of ammunition, one grenade, while eleven suspects were arrested. I seek your indulgence not to disclose the number of bandits killed in the course of this operation.
“Suffice to add that a number of them were neutralised by our forces during the operations. I should also add that some of them who fled from their camps and hid during these operations, are still trailed by our men.”
Giving a graphic picture of the operation, the sector-3 commander of the Operation Whirl Strokes in-charge of Nasarawa State, Navy Lt. Emmanuel Igwe, said the first operation of the troops was in Tunga area of Awe Local Government Area of the state where one AK-47 riffle, one magazine and 15 rounds of ammunition were also recovered.
According to Igwe, “The second operation was in Toto LGA where troop intercepted a vehicle conveying four suspected Egbura militias and recovered three different weapons with 144 rounds of ammunition, one grenade and some locally made charms from them among others.”
The sector-3 commander continued that another operation in Doma LGA saw the troops conducting tracking operation which took them to a grave yard and recovered two AK-47 riffles.