‘Herdsmen’ in gun battle with soldiers in Benue
Suspected herdsmen engaged men of the 707 special forces brigade of the Nigerian Army, Makurdi, Benue state in a gun battle on Tuesday.
Olabisi Ayeni, spokesman of the brigade, disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday.
He said the suspects were plotting to attack a fish farm belonging to Samuel Ortom, governor of the state.
Ayeni said two of the attackers had been arrested.
“Troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigerian Army, on a routine patrol along Gbajimba – Iyiodeh road in Guma LGA of Benue State on Tuesday 6 February 2018 arrested two Fulani militia who were suspected to be planning a dangerous mission,” he said.
“The troops sighted a group of these people while on their daily patrol. The militia who were suspected to be converging, possibly for an attack on Governor Ortom’s fish farm and other innocent citizens were about to be approached for questioning when they opened fire on the troops who later engaged them.
“When the troops accosted the herdsmen, they opened fire on the troops, who in turn engaged them in a shootout.
“In the course of the shootout, some of the herdsmen fled the area while two were arrested and handed over to the police.”
Benue has been a flashpoint of violence, especially between farmers and herdsmen.
Some of the security personnel deployed in the state have been killed in their bid to restore normalcy.
On Wednesday, the army listed Benue among the six states where it would launch a 44-day operation to tackle insecurity.
When he visited Nasarawa earlier inm the week, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security operatives to arrest those perpetrating violence in the country.