From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Over 140 armed bandits have been neutralized while 171 militia elements including armed herdsmen and criminals linked to the dreaded Terwase Akwaza known as Gana have been arrested within one year by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS in Benue State.
Commander, OPWS Major General Adeyemi Yekini disclosed this yesterday at a press conference to commemorate one year anniversary of the Operation held at the Tactical Air Command, Airforce Base, Makurdi.
Major Yekini also, said that 38 identified militia camps were destroyed across the three(3) Joint Operation Areas of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
He further added that a total of 178 assorted weapons and 3,569 ammunitions of different calibers were recovered by OPWS from bandits in the last one year.
According to him, ‘the breakdown shows that quantity 41 weapons and 1,293 ammunition were recovered in Benue State, quantity 127 weapons and 2,235 ammunition were recovered in Nasarawa State and quantity 10 weapons and 41 ammunition were recovered in Taraba State. It will be seen from the statistics that more arms and ammunition were recovered from Nasarawa than the other states although more Operaton wee conducted in Benue within the the one period.
“Other recorded include, recovery of 41 Ak47, 1 FN pistol, 5 SIG rifle, 30 AK 47 Magazines, 2 SMG, 127 local rifles, 9 local pistols, 3,569 assorted ammunition and charms as well as 1 FAR rifles”, Maj. Gen Yekini said.
He boasted that OPWS has largely achieved its mandate as incidents of mass killings or invasion of villages and communities have been substantially curbed but admitted that there are still isolated cases of criminality especially kidnapping of locals by criminals elements which is been addressed in collaboration with other security forces on ground.
He noted that through their effort over 250,000 IDPs have returned home including 215,000 in Benue, 30,000 in Taraba and 5,000 in Nasarawa States.
It could be recalled that the OPWS was launched in Benue States in May 2018 by the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. The troops are deployed in the most affected parts of Guma, Logo, Gwer West, Gwer East, Ukum, Katsina-Ala and Makurdi local government areas.