- Operation Whirl Stroke's force commander General Yekini says the deaths were recorded after gunfights between his troops and the killer herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa
- He confirms that one soldier paid the ultimate price while two others were injured in a gunfight on Saturday
- The force commander also hinted that the most wanted terrorist in Benue state Terwase Akase aka Gana may have been killed in a raid operation on Katsina-Alla
The Nigerian Army has announced that soldiers have killed no fewer than 21 killer herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states in the last few weeks.
The Punch reports that this was revealed by force commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, on Monday, August 20.
General Yekini confirmed that the troops also suffered one casualty while two other soldiers were injured on Saturday, August 18 in a battle along Gbamjimba-Akor-Tomata in Guma local government area of Benue state.
The report said he revealed all these while briefing newsmen on the activities of the Operation Whirl Stroke at Tactical Air Command located along Gboko road, Makurdi, the Benue capital.
General Yekini said 60 suspects have also been arrested since the inception of the operation.
The commander also hinted that the troops may have killed the most wanted terrorist in Benue state, Terwase Akwaza aka ‘Gana’, during raid operation at Tse Akwaza in Katsina Alla local government area on Saturday.
He said: “During the firefight, the Mi35 spotted a group of about 20 armed herdsmen riding on motorcycles moving along the axis towards Nasarawa State. 15 of the armed herdsmen on five motorcycles were neutralized with rocket fire from the Mi35 while others escaped with varying degrees of injury.
“Own troops chased remaining herdsmen until contact was broken close to the boundary between Nasarawa and Benue State. Plans are in progress to conduct further clearance operations of the border areas between the two states.
“The first was on 4 August, 2018, when troops of Sector 2 with the headquarter st Tomata supported by the Air Force reserve conducted clearing operation along Gbamjimba-Akor-Tomata when the troops made contact with armed militiamen moving with large herds of cattle, troops dislodged the armed men from the camp with unspecified number of them suspected to have been killed.
“Although no specific figure of casualty was officially given, troops who participated in the operation were of the opinion that not less than six of the armed men were killed during the fighting.
“The raid operation which took place at Tse Akwaza camp belonging to Gana in Kastina-Ala commenced at 0500hours on the 18th August 2018 through JatoAka-Kashimbila-Tyotsar axis but was suspended due to bad terrain and damaged bridge at Tyotsar which troops could not cross due to flooding.
“It was not clear if Gana was killed during the assault, but trail of blood seen in the building suspected to be where he slept suggests he might have been hit.
“A motorcycle usually used by Gana was also badly damaged during the air strike, many sacks of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp were recovered and burnt.”
NAIJ.com had reported earlier that Gen. Yekini, said the military and some armed herdsmen engaged in a gun battle that lasted for several hours in Guma local government area of Benue state.
But Yekini said no casualties were recorded as the army tried to repel the armed men.
He said: “Our men went on patrol along Gbajimba and encountered the herdsmen but we have no record of death or injury yet because our troops are still on the field. However, I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”
Victims of Herdsmen killing buried in Benue State - on NAIJ.com TV