SaharaReporters had on Thursday reported that army personnel invaded some villages in the council, burning down houses and killing a disputable number of villagers during a raid.
The Nigerian Army has confirmed that its ongoing onslaughts on some communities in Benue State are a direct result of gunmen who killed 11 soldiers attached to Operation Whirl Stroke in the Konshisha Local Government Area.
The army on Friday appealed to the residents of the state to volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the act.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, said in a release that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, has directed the commanders on the ground to ensure “sustained efforts in order to fish out and deal decisively with these bad elements who are threatening the peace in the area.”
“Nigerian Army troops operating in Benue State came under attack while on routine operational task. The troops comprising one officer and 10 soldiers were initially declared missing which prompted the deployment of a joint search and rescue team comprising troops and personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke.
“The search and rescue team unfortunately found all the missing troops dead in Konshisha LGA of Benue State. While the bodies of the slain troops were evacuated immediately, efforts are ongoing to track down the perpetrators of this heinous crime with a view to bringing them to justice.
“The COAS has therefore directed commanders on the ground to ensure sustained efforts in order to fish out and deal decisively with these bad elements who are threatening the peace in the area.
“It may be recalled that Benue State which was a hotbed for violent clashes has been enjoying relative peace following the successes achieved by the various security agencies who have been working tirelessly to safeguard law-abiding citizens and ensure they go about their legitimate business without fear of harassment by criminals. The Nigerian Army appeals to the public to volunteer useful information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of this dastardly act.”
SaharaReporters had also on Wednesday exclusively reported that fighter aircraft of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force launched air strikes on the Bonta community in Shangev Tiev, Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State, in a bid to destroy the camps of unknown gunmen, believed to be militants from the South-East.
SaharaReporters gathered from eyewitnesses that the aircraft flew at low level as they released gunfire, forcing residents to run in different directions as the deafening bombardments continued on Tuesday.
“The aircraft flew as low as 5 to 10 metres above the roof level with a wicked soldier who was shooting randomly and emptying a lot of magazines in motion,” a witness had stated.
“It all started this morning, when Nigerian military attacked the people of Bonta in Shangev Tiev, Konshisha LGA using aircraft. This unexpected, attack made everyone to run out of the villages and look for a secured place to lay low,” another resident had said.