From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi

Herdsmen have reportedly attacked Ikobi community in Apa Local Government Area of Benue State and killed three persons.

Our correspondent gathered that the attack took place on Saturday, February 4.

Following the attack, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, (OPWS), were deployed to the area to prevent further attacks.

A source from the who didn’t want to be named said the troops gallantly repelled the invaders.

The sources however said the OPWS troops were ambushed by the killer herders in Mbappa, Gwer West local government of the state but the troops succeeded in overpowering the attackers even as three of the soldiers sustained injuries.

Recall that armed herdsmen militia killed the Divisional Police Officer of Gwer West local government area, Mahmud Abubakar, a Superintendent of Police, with two other policemen, two children and three women in separate attacks.

The killer herders had laid a siege on the area in the last couple of days, with some analysts linking the attacks to the utterances of the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi and 51 others who accused the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, of using the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law with Livestock Guards to chase Fulanis out of the state.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Catherine Anene said she did not receive information on the case.

Meanwhile, the public Relations Officer (PRO), OPWS, Flight Lieutenant, Audu Katty, said troops of Operation Whirl Stroke received information about an attack on Ikobi community on February 4 at about 5 pm and responded immediately.

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“The gallant troops moved to the area and cleared the community. The rampaging armed herders fled towards Nasarawa State on sighting the troops. The situation though dicey has been stabilised.

“The operation continued the next day 5 January 2023 in adjoining communities. While the troops were moving towards Agagbe, they had contact with some bandits. The bandits fired at the troops and our troops engaged them with superior firepower that lasted for about 30 minutes.

“Three of our troops sustained various degrees of injuries. The injured troops are currently receiving treatment,” he said.

Reacting to the incident in Makurdi, the President, Tiv Youth Organisation, Timothy Hembaor, described the attack on the community and the military personnel in Gwer West as mindless and barbaric.

He wondered why the herders would ambush security men whose role is peacekeeping.

Hembaor called on relevant security agencies to speedily commence the investigation of Sanusi and the other Fulani elders who recently made statements that he said have spurred the herders to intensify their atrocities in Benue State.

“What the armed Fulanis are now doing in Benue State is not a coincidence. They must have received briefings from the elders who recently wrote a petition to President Buhari against Governor Ortom.

“An investigation will certainly bring out the truth. We in Benue know who our attackers are. Sanusi and the others must be held responsible for the renewed wave of attacks on our people”, he said.

Hembaor said the ambush on the military in Gwer West is one in a series of such attacks that killer herders have carried out against security operatives within Benue State in the last few years.