George Okoh in Makurdi
Some gunmen suspected to be loyal to the notorious Benue State warlord, the late Terwase Akwaza alias Gana yesterday morning reportedly attacked Tse Harga community in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state killing the a police officer.
This is even as troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), in collaboration with the police neutralised one of the suspected attackers who was caught with over 200 rounds of ammunitions.
It was gathered that the gunmen invaded the sleepy community and suddenly launched an attack on the people in the area without provocation.
Tse Harga is part of the Sankera axis where the loyalists of the deceased militia kingpin have been holding sway, a development which made the state government to place a dusk-to-dawn curfew as well as ban the use of motorcycles and Toyota Camry popularly known as Duck Yansh to avert further criminal and banditry activities in the axis.
The Sankera axis comprises of three local government areas of Logo, Ukum and Katsina-Ala, which had been hotbed of violent attacks.
Sources from Harga community who spoke to journalists but pleaded anonymity, said the attackers arrived at about 4am while the people were still sleeping.
“We noticed the presence of the attackers and we quickly alerted the DPO who also mobilised and swiftly moved to the area to find out what was happening.
“Unfortunately, as soon as they sighted the policemen, the gunmen opened fire on them, killing one of the policemen in the process.
“It was at that point that we quickly alerted troops of OPWS who were stationed at Gbishe close to us here in Harga and they wasted no time in responding to our calls.
“As I speak with you now, the military are on the trail of the attackers and we are hearing from the grapevine that one of them who was caught with several ammunitions have been killed by the troops in joint operation with the Nigeria Police.
Confirming the report, Council Chairman of Katsina-Ala, Mr. Alfred Atera disclosed that one policeman was killed in the attack while the police station and some houses were also burnt by the attackers.
When contacted, Commander OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini told journalists on phone that he could not comment on an ongoing operation.
“We are in operation around that axis but I can’t comment further on an ongoing operation. You may wish to contact the Directorate of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters Abuja, thanks”, Yekini said.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Police Command has confirmed the attack on Tse Harga community and the killing of the policeman in the area.
The command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident, noted that the details of the attack were still not available and promised to get back to journalists.