Troops of Operation Whirl- Stroke (OPWS) of the Nigerian Army have arrested 10 suspects, recovered 16 rifles and ammunition at Ibilla and Ukpa communities in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State. This came on heels of a communal crisis between two communities.
The two border communities were enmeshed in a deep crisis over delineation exercise embarked upon by the National Boundary Commission (NBC) in the area.
New Telegraph learnt that NBC officials had arrived in the area to carry out the delineation exercise when some members of the two communities took up arms against each other and started shooting in all directions. They also destroyed several houses.
The joint Military Troops of OPWS and troops of 72 Battalion were immediately contacted and swiftly drafted to the area.
The troops arrested 10 suspects, recovered 16 firearms and 59 rounds of ammunition. A source from one of the warring communities told New Telegraph that the arrival of the troops at Ibilla and Ukpa communities brought relative calm. He added that the troops carried out a two-day “cordon-andsearch operation” to be able to arrest the suspects.
According to him, the first day that the soldiers arrived at the area, they arrested nine people, recovered nine firearms, 59 rounds of ammunition, eight cutlasses, two axes, nine handsets and one Volkswagen vehicle.
The troops were also said to have raided the two communities on Sunday night during which they recovered seven more firearms and arrested one more suspect.
“The boys thought that the soldiers had left and had again come out in the night to carry out more attacks when the soldiers swooped on them and arrested nine of them with some arms and ammunition,” the source said.
The source could not, however, tell exactly where the suspects were taken to, but security sources said they were moved to Makurdi for further interrogation.
The Force Commander of OPWS, Major Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, declined comments on the matter. He referred our correspondent to the Defense Headquarters Information Department.