Metro & Crime

Benue: Two soldiers missing, as bandits kill PDP chieftain, trader

Fear has gripped the people of Bonta and Ukpute in Konshisha and Oju local government areas of Benue State as two officers of the Nigerian Army were reportedly missing in the area since Monday.

 

On the same day, bandits killed a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Mbayongo Ward in Katsina- Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, Elder Mbashinkpenga Kpenhir at Gbise.

 

The gunmen also murdered an Igbo businessman also in the area on Monday evening.

 

The soldiers, it was learnt, were on a routine patrol in parts of the local government areas when they came under attacks about 5pm.

 

However, a soldier was yesterday reported to have been found alive in the morning through the efforts of troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) who were on the trail the bandits. Sources in the area said the bandits, called “Bonta Boys,” attacked the soldiers for coming to destroy an illegal road block they had mounted.

 

One of the sources said the OPWS troops, on getting wind of the incident, called for reinforcement and swiftly repelled the bandits.

 

“When it happened, we immediately alerted the OPWS members, who responded swiftly. But before their arrival, the gunmen had fled.

 

“However, troops are already on the trail of the bandits and we pray they are able to rescue the remaining missing soldiers soon. “I believe this was carried out probably to intimidate the military who are doing a great job in the state,” the source said.

 

The OPWS Force Commander, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, said he could not comment on an ongoing operation and referred journalists to the Information Department of the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

 

But the Chairman of Konshisha Local Government Area, Hon. James Jirgba, confirmed the incident.

 

He said it occurred at a community between Oju and Konshisha local government areas of the state. Meanwhile, the killings in Katsina-Ala came barely a few days after the people of Shitile in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area met and resolved to interface and dialogue with the aggrieved youth in their domain to stop rampant killings, banditry and other criminal activities.

 

At the meeting, the Shitile stakeholders, including traditional rulers, political, religious and opinion leaders, promised that the needs of the aggrieved youth would be addressed.

 

The killings also came days after gunmen invaded Saint Paul’s Aye Twar Catholic Parish, Agu Centre in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state and killed a Catholic Priest and three other parishioners.

 

The Chairman of Katsina- Ala Local Government Area, Mr. Alfred Atera, confirmed the attack and killing on the telephone. Atera said the bandits came in a guerrilla style, struck and left the area.

 

He said: “The bandits killed one PDP elder in Mbayongo, Hon. Mbashinkpenga Kpenhir, and an Igbo businessman all at Gbise. “I reported the matter to the police but for now, troops of the Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS) stationed in parts of Katsina-Ala had been deployed in the area and relative calm is witnessed in the area as we speak.

 

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