Soldiers On Reprisal Attack Razes 200 Houses In Benue Community

LAGOS APRIL 20TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Rampaging soldiers on Thursday morning set the Benue State town of Naka on fire.
Naka is the headquarters of Gwer-West Local Government Area.
The soldiers were reported o have set over two hundred houses ablaze in the town, where one person died.
A source in Naka town disclosed that the figure of the houses set ablaze could be as high as three hundred.
He explained that all the houses on the way to the rice mill in the town were set ablaze by the irate soldiers before they left town.

The action of the soldiers left Naka a ghost town as residents fled when they learnt that soldiers were on their way to Naka “on a revenge mission”.
But the Nigeria army has denied knowing the soldiers that perpetrated the act.
They stormed Naka, the seat of Gwer West Local Government Area, at about 11:00 a.m. and began burning houses to the apprehension of residents, Francis Ayagah, Chairman of the local government said.
Ayagah said the soldiers were on a reprisal attack over the killing of one of their colleagues near the community on Wednesday.
“A soldier was killed by hoodlums yesterday, but I met with the brigade commander around 4:30a.m. today,” Ayagah said of the possible motive of the arsonists.
“He gave me a list of suspects and we arrested five of them overnight. It was while we were trying to take them to the brigade that soldiers stormed the town and started burning houses.
“A whole part of the town has been completely burnt down and we’re appealing for help and understanding from the soldiers,” he added.
The troops were said to have spent over two hours burning down properties in Naka, which is about 45 kilometres from Makurdi, the state capital.
Ayagah said homes of citizens were mostly affected rather than those of the suspected killers of the slain soldier.
The Nigerian army has ended ‘Exercise Ayem Akpatuma‘ in which troops were drafted to combat gunmen who have killed hundreds of villagers in the state since January.
Gwer West was attacked a little over a week ago with over 25 people reportedly killed.
The soldiers on rampage were believed to be amongst those embedded with mobile police officers in ‘Operation Zenda’.
The incident is coming on the heels of allegations by a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. T. Y. Danjuma that the army had been compromised and were being used to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens of the country.
Danjuma had also called on communities to defend themselves from herdsmen attacks or die one after another.
A source in Naka lamented that soldiers that were expected to defend the people had become the same ones that were seen to be breaking the law.
He noted that sometime back a soldier was killed in the area and even though the army denied knowing the soldier they picked his body and never handed it over to the police as the case should be.
The source said the army was yet to do anything in connection with cries by communities in Naka over the takeover of their communities by herdsmen.
He stressed that most of the suspected herdsmen who attacked the communities were always dressed in army uniform.
He advised the army to be impartial in its dealings with Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic affiliation.
Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moses Yamu, to comment on the invasion were futile.
Yamu refused to pick calls or respond to text messages.
But in a statement issued by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, and Spokesman, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigeria Army, Makurdi, Major Olabisi Ayeni said the perpetrators of the acts were not men of the Nigerians army.
He explained that at about 3:30pm on Wednesday, troops of the Special Forces deployed to the area noted the absence of Private Danlami Gambo who was seen receiving a phone call.
He stated that Gambo had gone in search of network but didn’t return.
Ayeni observed that they went in search of the soldier and discovered blood stains on a path that led to a fresh grave.
According to him, on exhuming the grave, the corpse was that of PTE Gambo.
The army spokesman said the army had arrested an undisclosed number of persons in connection with the death of the soldier.
Ayeni, however, said the army did not get news of the arson committed by the suspected soldiers until about 4pm.
He said: “At about 1600hrs today (Thursday) information received by TPS revealed that some unknown persons were seen burning houses at Naka.
“Troops were dispatched to the location but they did not make contact with the perpetrators.”

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Posted by on Apr 20 2018. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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