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Military claims taming Benue’s notorious militia, promises Osun better security

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[FILES] Nigeria Army. Photo: TWITTER/ HQNigerianArmy

Military operation code named Operation Whirl Strike (OPWS) yesterday claimed that it has repressed Benue State’s most wanted notorious militia, Terwase Akwaza (aka Gana) and dismantled all illegal checkpoints manned by his men.

Force Commander of OPWS Major General Adeyemi Yekini disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing, saying the troops also arrested 23 members of Gana’s gang who operated illegal checkpoints along the Kastina-Ala, Gbishe, Tarkun axis of Benue and Taraba states.

Yekini said the onslaught against Gana by troops of OPWS has led to the stabilisation of the Katsina-Ala, Gbishe, Tarkun area, which has made vehicular movement along that axis possible.

“We have stabilised Kastina-Ala, Gbishe, Tarkum axis as a result of our onslaught against Gana and his gang, which was not the case in the past. There is now normal vehicular movement along that axis.

“We have also extended onslaught against criminal elements and all known kidnap hideouts along that axis have also been destroyed.

“We have successfully caged Gana and dismantled all illegal checkpoints manned by his men through which they extort money from innocent citizens.

“The war against Gana is not just on military fronts alone, but also along economic line because we believe that if he doesn’t have money from kidnapping and extortion, he won’t be able to buy guns and other weapons to carry out his nefarious activities again.

“Twenty-three of his men were also arrested in recent times and handed over to the police for prosecution, Yekini said.

On the recent crisis in Agatu Council of the state, he disclosed that troops have been deployed to Agatu to ensure peace and prevent resurgence of violence in the area.

Yekini further cautioned individuals or groups that fail to lay down their arms as advised would be traced, arrested, neutralised and prosecuted.

Besides, the Army yesterday pledged to assist Osun State to continue to remain one of the safest states in the country.

General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Okwudili Fidelis Azinta, gave the assurance during a meeting with Governor Adegboyega Oyetola in Osogbo.

Oyetola had visited Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai last month to seek assistance in combating rising insecurity in the state and requested the Army chief to allow soldiers in combined security patrol teams to fight banditry.

Azinta said his visit followed Buratai’s directive to partner with the state government to sustain peace and stability.

“We are here to congratulate the governor on his election and his victory at the Supreme Court and to meet him and work with other security agencies to ensure that Osun remains secure and peaceful,” he added.


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