Metro & Crime

Tension in Benue villages over Gana’s killing

Ortom beefs up security

He was killed during encounter -DHQ

Tension yesterday enveloped communities in Benue State especially at Gbise in Katsina-Ala over the killing of wanted notorious criminal gang leader, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana. Gana, who was killed by men of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday, hailed from Gbise.

This was as the Defence Headquarters yesterday explained that Gana was killed during an encounter with troops. Soldiers intercepted the repentant militia leader on Gboko-Yandev Road on his way to surrender to the ongoing amnesty programme initiated by the State Security Council to integrate him and his men into the society when he was eventually killed. Some of Gana’s men were reported to have retreated mid-stream after their leader was forcibly picked and taken away by the Army.

New Telegraph learnt that the growing upheaval that enveloped Katsina- Ala and its environs was allegedly triggered by angry youths who felt embittered over the killing of the militant leader. But reacting on the matter, Governor Samuel Ortom said he was aware of the uneasy calm but that security had already been beefed up in the area to stem any reprisal and there was no cause for alarm. He said: “We are aware of the tension in the area, we have discussed that in the State Security Council, there is security beef-up and I believe that there is no cause for alarm.

“That is why we are still saying that there should be calm and if there is any apprehension the security agencies are also ready, I have also augmented what they have so as to protect lives and property.” Ortom, who said the military was in possession of Gana’s body, said he was not distracted over his demise and reaffirmed the resolve of the State Security Council to continue with the amnesty programme which he said was one way which could bring peace to the people. In the meantime, the State Security Council is to meet with stakeholders from Sankera today to review the situation.

Ortom explained that 42 repentant youths from Logo were successfully profiled and allowed to go back home. He pointed out that a committee headed by the Security Adviser to the Governor, Col. Paul Hembah (rtd), was constituted to work out some support for them. Meanwhile, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, told journalists at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, that Gana was killed during an encounter with troops within the Gboko area of Benue State. Enenche said 40 suspected members of Gana’s gang were captured.

The coordinator added that arms and ammunition were also recovered during the encounter. He said: “On 8 September, 2020, troops of Operation Ayem Akpatuma III, killed a militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana, during an encounter with troops around Gboko in Benue State. “Forty members of his gang were also captured alongside arms and ammunition.” Enenche also said ongoing operations across various the-atres were yielding commendable results. The coordinator said N1,565,550 was recovered from suspected bandits’ courier, during the arrest made by troops of Forward Operating Base in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

He said: “On 7 September, 2020, troops of Forward Operating Base Kekuwuje arrested two bandits’ couriers with the sum of N1,565,550 in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State. “Similarly, the same day, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji, in conjunction with vigilantes, arrested a bandit informant in the Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State. “Furthermore, on 5 September, 2020, troops of Operation Safe Haven raided hideouts of suspected Sara Suka criminals at Yantifa, New Market, Terminus and Bauchi Road in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.

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