From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Security operatives have differed on the killing of seven persons in the Chembe community in Logo local government area of Benue State over the weekend.
Troops of the joint military spike operation known as Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS said they killed two (2) suspected herdsmen who invaded the community on Friday night killing two (2) locals and injuring two(2) others.
Sources from the area told our correspondent by telephone that the invaders attacked the community at about 6:45pm and started shooting sporadically in all directions.
Our source who simply gave his name as Terwase said the attack on the community by the herdsmen was unprovoked.
He noted that as soon as the troops of the OPWS were alerted, they quickly swung into action and trailed the attackers into the bush and were able to kill one of them in the process.
It was further gathered from another local that the troops continued searching for the other fleeing members of the armed bandits till early hours of Saturday when they discovered their camp at Arufu in neighbouring Taraba State.
“The troops killed a second bandit at Arufu from whom one AK47 and 10 rounds of ammunition were recovered during an exchange of gunfire. They also destroyed the Arufu camp which they discovered in Taraba State,” our source who confirmed to be a resident of Arufu but did not want to be named said.
The villager said he saw the troops moving the two corpses of the bandits towards Anyiin in the Logo Local government area early on Saturday morning.
At the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the troops have intensified patrol in the general area while normalcy has also been restored to the community.
When contacted, the Commander Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini refused to comment on the incident but referred our correspondent to the Defence headquarters media team.
However, the Benue State Police Command through its spokesperson DSP Catherine Anene in a statement posted on their platform insisted that the crisis in Chembe was unconnected with herdsmen.
Hear her: “The crises at Logo have nothing to do with herders and farmers as speculated in the social media. It is a disagreement over benefits from mining proceeds. It was gathered that a mining company paid an amount of money to Chembe community as compensation for the mining sites but members of the community disagreed over the rightful owners of the sites and this led to a fight that claimed seven (7) lives. Investigation is still in progress”.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has reiterated his call on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to declare the herders in the State as a terrorist group.
He made the call in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase and made available to our correspondent at the weekend
The Governor’s call follows repeated herdsmen attacks on different communities of the state in the last couple of months.