By continuously arresting other members of the late Gana terrorist group in Benue State and environs, the Nigerian Army 4 Special Forces Command are determined to put an end to the ignominious reign of the group, writes Igbawase Ukumba
In September last year, the operation “Ayem Akpatuma III” of the Nigerian Army killed Benue’s dreaded terrorist, Terwase Akwaza, otherwise known as Ghana. The Army consequently addressed a press conference on that night in Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, the headquarters of the 4 Special Forces Command, where the lifeless body of Ghana was paraded.
Commander of the 4 Special Forces Command, Major General Moundhey Gadzama Ali, while parading Gana’s remains said, “I invited you (journalists) this evening to witness another breakthrough by troops on Operation AYEM APKATUMA III. At about 1200hrs today, we received strategic information on the movement of the dreaded bandit named Terwase Akwaza aka Gana along Gbise-Gboko-Makurdi road.
“Troops on operation AYEM APKATUMA III moved swiftly and mounted snap road blocks along routes at 1300hrs. There was a meeting engagement with the convoy of the dreaded bandit, where a shootout ensued and Gana was killed. During search, the following were recovered, five AK 47, one FN rifle, two Beretta pistol, three pump action guns, one locally fabricated sub machine gun, ten dane gun, 19 browsing pistols, 35 fabricated revolver pistols and two fabricated mortars.”
Ammunitions found, according to Major General Ali, “include 766 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 27.9mm rounds, 26 Pump Action Cartridge. Other items recovered were one machine, two waist charms, two finger ring charms and two fabricated Improvised Explosives.”
He explained further that 40 of the late Gana’s men were captured in the operation and were currently in custody to be handed over to the civil authority for prosecution.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, here lies the body of the terrorist that has made the entire northern part of the north Central untenable for peace loving Benue and Taraba citizens popularly known as Gana,” Ali said, presenting the lifeless Gana.
Suffice it to recall that after eliminating Gana, some school of thought said his Second-in-Command had inherited his powers and magic. But in October last year, Ali paraded the Second-in-Command by name Kumaor Fachii popularly known as Commander.
According to him, “The late Gana’s Second-in-Command was at Abaji village in Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State at night in his girlfriend’s house through useful intelligence gathering from good citizens of the locality. When the dreaded Gana was paraded before you, I mentioned that some of his kingpins have been arrested and some of them are on the run and we are in pursuit of them.
“This afternoon, seated before us here is the Second-in-Command. After the episode that we had with the late dreaded Gana, some school of thought said his Second-in-Command had inherited his powers and everything. And low and behold, our troops have gone in pursuit of them and today before you is Mr. Kumaor Fachii, the Second-in-Command that has inherited his powers. We therefore called you to witness the Second-in-Command parade, and we assure you that they either surrender or are raided.”
General Ali however disclosed that the Gana’s Second-in-Command was the 76th person in the Special Forces’ custody, apart from the late Gana and other four that had gone where they belong, assuring them that the rest of the group would be picked up soon.
Items recovered by the troops and paraded alongside the Gana’s Second-in-Command included one locally made AK-47, hunting guns, automatic rifles that can fire cartridge and mortal tubes that the terrorists have fabricated.
Gadzama concluded: “We are also aware, from the brief interrogation we have made, that they are making plans to start producing explosive devises. But by the grace of God, they can’t get anywhere. We are on their trail.”
Fielding questions from journalists whilst being paraded, Fachii, claimed he started operation with the gang sometime in 2018. Before joining the gang, Fachii also claimed that he was a commercial motorcyclist.
Fachii said: “From motorcycling, I went and joined the group in the bush. Initially, I didn’t know the group until a day that one of them hired me to convey him into the bush on my motorcycle, where instead of discharging me to go, he asked me to wait for him to complete his mission in the bush so that I will still convey him back to the town. As you carry him back, he pays you between N500 or N1,000.
“As any member of the gang hires you to carry him on your bike around the vicinity, people in the town will stigmatise you as belonging to the criminal gang. That was why I decided to join them in the bush. When I joined the criminal gang in the bush, I was detailed to be robbing travellers on the road. All monies collected by me were given to Gana through his emissaries at intervals. The group of Gana’s criminal gang which I was recruited into gave me a gun to facilitate my performance.”
When asked if he was really the Second-in-Command to the late Gana, Kumaor Fachii denied that he was Second-in-Command to the late gang leader, saying “It was not Gana that gave me that rank, but the Second-in-Command rank was given to me by members of the group that I was detailed to work with for Gana.”
Asked if the late Gana handed over powers to him before he was captured, Fachii denied that Gana handed over his powers to him, but said Gana handed over the powers to one Azonto, who according to him, is the late Gana’s brother and was still in the bush around Gbishe area.
However, in an effort to capture the inheritance of the late Gana’s powers and magic, Aondofa Cephas (AKA Azonto), the 4 Special Forces Command intensified operations in the Benue valley in December, 2020 and additional 41 suspected members of the Gana’s criminal gangs were arrested, bringing to total of 119 suspected members of the criminal gangs now with the Army.
“I would like to state that, before now it was unfathomed for Gana’s name to be mentioned among the Tiv, Jukun or Kuteb for fear that, Gana under the direction of the Chief Priest in the blood boiling pot of his shrine and his gang members will go after you.
“Today, I am pleased to inform you that, not only did the Special Forces snatch the Chief Priest but, I am glad to tell you the dreaded shrine has been razed to dust. The Chief Priest, who has been responsible for preparing charms for the gang using human parts of kidnapped persons, has been captured,” he said.
Ali added that one of Gana’s Commanders in charge of armed robbery called Torkuma died under Special Forces siege while in hiding in a village at suburbs of Katsina Ala.
The suspected Chief Priest to the late terrorist, Gbagh Iorlumum, while speaking to journalists during his parade, said he had a problem at his house.
According to him, “I am a herbalist hence four suspected Gana’s criminal boys approached me and I provided them with my services and they went back. Again they came back to me that I should provide them with magic for disappearance. But I asked them why were they asking me for disappearing magic considering their tender age. I refused to do it for them and they became angry and wanted to kill me and I escaped.
“At about 5:30pm, I was at the Katsina Ala head bridge, when Army detected my suspicious movement and arrested me. It was the Army that saved my life from those Gana boys that I am still alive today,” Gbagh Iorlumum claimed.
Terpase Orlanga, who was also among the 41 suspected members of the Gana’s criminal gang arrested, said, “We were at the burial rites of my cousin brother, Patrick Aondakaa, for three days sleeping there. So around 5:00am, security came and arrested us from there. That is what brought me here.
“They arrested us demanding information about Gana’s squad. For me, I told them I don’t know because in our Mbatyula community, the Gana boys have killed about thirty people since 2016. They even killed my uncle’s wife. Some of us that are here, Gana’s boys killed our people. So, we don’t know anything about Gana’s boys.”
When asked if the people at the deceased’s wake keep were arrested, Iorlumum claimed that the Army arrested everybody at the wake keep, with the exception of the elderly and children. Although he explained that it was yet time to bury the deceased, however as Tiv culture demands, members of the family of the deceased assemble at the deceased homestead every night to mourn him hence they were all there.
“It was there that security came and arrested us. In our village, we only know the late Gana as an armed robber and kidnapper, as I mentioned earlier that he killed people in my village,” Orlanga claimed.
But General Ali, dismissed Orlanga’s claims that the deceased was a strong supporter of late Gana, which he said Orlanga knew about and was dodging the truth.
Ali has however declared the inheritance of Gana’s powers and magic, Aondofa Cephas (AKA Azonto); alongside one Teryima Ihyabee (AKA Clerk) and another simply identified as Bajo; who were both at large at the time of filing this report, wanted.
Pix: Suspected Late Gana’s Chief Priest (front) with Suspected Gangs Members.jpeg