…declare armed herdsmen terrorist group now – Ortom urges FG
By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Two members of a gang of suspected armed herdsmen were late Friday night killed in a gun battle with troops of the joint military spike operation code-named Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, after they reportedly invaded Tse Chembe community in Logo Local Government area of Benue State.
This came just as Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has urged the Federal Government to declare armed herders killing in Benue and other parts of the country as terrorist group.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the armed herdsmen were part of the gang who had earlier stormed the community on Friday night killing two locals and injuring two others.
According to a source in the area, the invaders attacked the community at about 6:45 pm, shooting sporadically in all directions killing and injuring their victims.
According to him, “the quick intervention of troops of OPWS save the community from suffering heavy casualty because as soon as the troops were alerted, they quickly moved into the area and on sighting the troops the attackers fled.
“But the troops trailed them into a nearby bush where one of them was killed in a gunfight. The search for the other fleeing members of the armed bandits continued till early hours of Saturday when they discovered their camp in neighbouring Arufu community in Taraba State.
“The exchange of gunfire led to the killing of another of the invaders at Arufu from who one AK47 and 10 rounds of ammunition were recovered. The troops also destroyed the Arufu camp,” the source said.
When contacted, the Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini refused to comment on the operation but referred newsmen to Defence Headquarters Information Unit.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare armed Fulani herdsmen killing innocent people in communities of Benue State as terrorists.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase condemned the attack and killings at Tse Chembe and other communities in recent time and described the situation as unacceptable.
While commending officers and men of OPWS for their prompt responses to distress calls when Tse-Chembe came under attack, the Governor said “declaring the armed herders operating in Benue State and other parts of the country as terrorists will end the wave of impunity and guarantee the rule of law.
“Benue has a law which prohibits open grazing of livestock, it is only a terrorist group that would deliberately choose to violate the legislation as Fulani herdsmen have done since the law was enacted in 2017.”
The Governor reassured Benue people that his administration would not surrender the state to criminal elements, “be they herdsmen or any other group, and no amount of threats and attacks will stop the enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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