George Okoh in Makurdi
Military troops yesterday began the search for suspected bandits who ambushed soldiers while on patrol at Bonta village in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State.
The soldiers were said to be on routine patrol in Konshisha and Oju LGAs of the state last Monday when they came under severe attack by the bandit at about 5p.m.
According to local sources in the area, the bandits, known as ‘Bonta boys’, attacked the soldiers who were there to destroy the illegal road blocks they had mounted.
It was further gathered that at the time of this report, no fewer than two soldiers on patrol were missing in the area while one of them have being found as at yesterday morning.
According to the source who did not want his name mentioned in print, the soldiers were on patrol around Ukpute village when they were ambushed by the bandits, who opened gun fire on them.
Another source disclosed that a team of a special military Operation Whirl Stroke quickly responded to a distress call by the troops and swiftly repelled the bandits.
“When it happened, we immediately alerted members of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), who responded swiftly and dispelled the gunmen,” the source said.
He said the troops of the OPWS are already on the trail of the bandits in an attempt to find the missing soldiers.
The source further hinted that the OPWS troops slept overnight in Konshisha, and were continuing with the operation yesterday.
“I believe this was carried out probably to intimidate the military operatives who are doing a great job in the state,” the source added.
However, the Konshisha LGA Chairman, Mr. James Jirgba, confirmed the incident, saying the attack took place at the boundary area between Oju and Konshisha, and that he is yet to get the full details.
Major General Adeyemi Yekini of the OPWS could not be reached as his phone numbers were all switched off and text messages sent to his cell phone could not go through as at the time of filing this report.