George Okoh in Makurdi
Troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) covering Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States early yesterday trailed a group of armed herdsmen to their camp close to the boundary between Benue and Nasarawa States, killing two of them and recovering two AK47 riffles with 25 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition from them.
It was gathered from locals that the armed herdsmen had earlier on Wednesday, invaded Tse- Torkula community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State and injured two people before the troops of the OPWS were alerted.
According to one of the locals, who identified himself as Torkuma Jande, the invaders had stormed the community at about 6p.m., shooting sporadically at all directions before being repelled by the security forces stationed in the area.
“It was about 6 p.m. last Wednesday evening that we suddenly started hearing sounds of gunshots around our community. Some of the security forces around the area were alerted and they immediately moved towards the direction of the firing and pushed back the attackers.
“We also alerted the troops of the OPWS who are stationed at the neighbouring Umenger and Ukaa communities, but before they could reach there, the herdsmen had fled back to their camp towards Nasarawa State.
“I believe the troops of OPWS were not satisfied with the incidence so they decided to go after the herdsmen searching for them till early hours of this morning when they stormed their camp near the Benue/Nasarawa States boundary in Keana,” Jande said.
Another villager living close to the area, Mrs. Dorcas Mdzer, who ran to Umenger for safety, said she sighted the soldiers destroying the camp of the armed herdsmen and burning everything in sight.
Mdzer, who ran from the affected community to Umenger village, said she was preparing for evening meal for her family when she heard gunshots close to their house.
“On looking closely, I saw some soldiers exchanging gunfire with some herdsmen who had built tents in our village. When the sounds of gunshots became too intense, I gathered my children and we ran towards Umenger.
“After sometime, we saw the soldiers with some dead bodies in their vehicle heading towards Daudu,” she said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, failed as he neither picked his calls nor responded to text messages sent to his cellphone.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive report of any attack from that area.