Army allegedly sets houses ablaze in Benue
Residents killed our personnel, says spokesman
Military officers yesterday allegedly set ablaze no fewer than 300 houses in Naka Town, headquarter of Gwer-West Local Council of Benue State.The suspected army officers were said to be in search of their missing colleague, who was reportedly murdered in the area.
Some residents of the town told The Guardian that the visibly angry soldiers drove into Naka town in six trucks yesterday morning, adding that three of the trucks had 72 Special Forces inscription on them.
“They set ablaze any standing structure on sight. Although only one aged and sick man was burnt in one of the houses, there was heavy pandemonium in the town, as residents on sighting the army, started fleeing the town for safety,” they said.
They added that the invaders burnt down what the indigenes refer to as the first two of the township, which they lamented, was the worst part of the onslaught.While condemning the killing of a soldier in Naka, the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, however, warned against people resorting to self-help, saying such incidences should be reported to law enforcement agents for necessary action.
But, confirming the killing of a soldier in the town, Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, 707 SF Brigade, Major Olabisi Ayeni, said an army officer who was sent to the town to maintain peace, Danlami Gambo, was killed.He explained that Gambo, who had moved away from his colleagues in search of network to make a call, could not return but his rifle was found at a location after a search.
“The troops immediately conducted a search for the missing soldier and about 3.30 pm Wednesday observed blood stains along a footpath leading to a newly dug grave. “They dug out the grave and found the body of the missing soldier, who had been butchered. The corpse was exhumed and deposited at the Nigerian Air Force mortuary in Makurdi,” he stated.
Ayeni added that preliminary investigation revealed that some locals killed the soldier for which some suspects were arrested by a team from the unit to the scene of the incident.He said investigation was ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of the soldier and bring the culprits to book.