By George Okoh
Three suspected bandits were last Sunday night gunned down at Adaka community in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State in a gun battle with the troops of the joint military operation code named Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS).
According to a local source, the bandits stormed the area in the suburb of Makurdi, the state capital, to maim and rob unsuspecting members of the community of their belongings before they were sighted, and a distressed call was put across to the military personnel who were on patrol around the area.
THISDAY further gathered that the criminal elements, however, met a strong resistance from the military after they first opened fire on the troops.
An eye witness from the community, who identified himself as Isaac Apine, told journalists in Makurdi that at about 8p.m., suspected bandits were seen loitering around the area to attack the community before a man and his wife ran into them and were shot in the process.
“It was when we heard gunshots that we quickly alerted the military personnel, who responded swiftly and came to repel the bandits.
“In fact, if not for the prompt intervention of the military, something more terrible than this could have happened. The military engaged the bandits in a heavy gun dwell, and in the end, we saw them with three dead bodies. The bandits were armed with sophisticated weapons.
“We sincerely thank the soldiers for their action, and we are appealing for more deployment of security to our area to avert further attacks,” Apine said.
When contacted for his comments on the incident, the Commander of OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, said his patrol team had an encounter with some bandits around Adaka community.
Yekini said: “Our troops are on top of the situation and will do everything possible with other security agencies on ground to protect the people.”
He, however, referred THISDAY to Defence Headquarters media operations team for further information on the Adaka incident.