At least six persons have been killed in a fierce battle between some armed bandits and troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) in Utange Ward of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
According to Governor Samuel Ortom’s Security Adviser, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba, the troops, in collaboration with personnel of the Community Volunteer Guards, had stormed the camp of the armed bandits on Tuesday, neutralizing two of them in the process while also burning their camp.
He added that on Wednesday, in a reprisal attack, the armed bandits regrouped and laid ambush on the way, killing a member of the Community Volunteer Guards in the process.
The Security Adviser explained that next day, which was on Thursday, troops of OPWS again trailed the bandits to their hideouts and neutralized three of them during an exchange of gun fire.
He maintained that after the incidence, peace has since returned to the area and the people have continued with their normal commercial activities.
Contacted, Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Kevin Aligbe who confirmed the report said the feat was in furtherance to the on going fight against armed banditry in the Joint Operations Area (JOA).
Aligbe, in a statement signed by the OPWS Public Relations Officer, Flying Officer Audu Katty, said OPWS troops have continued to degrade the activities of criminal elements in the Joint Operations Area.
“The troops, while acting on credible human intelligence (HUMINT), conducted a raid on Ahunga, Sati Mbachagh and Ayaghi village in Mbayongo Council Ward of Katsina-Ala local government area of Benue state.
“During the raid, bandits on sighting own troops took to their heels and our troops gave them a hot chase and neutralized two bandits identified as Mr Terseer Tyoher and Homga Agesa popularly known as Golden Spoon.”
The Force Commander also explained that troops recovered weapons of different calibre and charms from the armed bandits while the make- shift camp of the bandits was also set ablaze.
“The Force Commander OPWS, Major General Kevin Aligbe, stated that, OPWS remains focused in ensuring safety of life’s and properties where law abiding Nigerians can go about their legitimate businesses and allow economic activities to thrive”, Katty stated.