The Nigerian Army says one of its officer and ten soldiers while on routine operational task were without provocation killed in Konshisha local government area of northcentral Benue State.
Following the killing of the personnel, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has ordered a sustained effort in order to fish out and deal decisively with the culprits.
There were reports on Tuesday that armed men ambushed and killed eight soldiers in a remote community in the state leading to deployment of more troops in the volatile area.
Confirming the attack, the state’s Governor Samuel Ortom told journalists that two soldiers were missing in the Tuesday attack on army troops by local militia at Konshisha, a remote community in the area.
“Reports reaching me indicate that troops on a peace mission at Konshisha were attacked by some people but security forces were able to repel them. However, two soldiers are missing in the attack,” he disclosed.
But the Army in a statement on Friday titled: Unprovoked Attack on Troops on Stabilisation Operations in Benue State, and signed by Mohammed Yerima, the Director Army Public Relations noted that “Nigerian Army (NA) troops operating in Benue State came under attack while on routine operational task.
“The troops comprising one officer and ten soldiers were initially declared missing which prompted the deployment of a joint search and rescue team comprising NA troops and personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke,” the statement read.
Yerima, a Brigadier General noted that “the search and rescue team unfortunately found all the missing troops dead in Konshisha LGA of Benue State. While the bodies of the slain troops were evacuated immediately, efforts are ongoing to track down the perpetrators of this heinous crime with a view to bringing them to Justice.
“The NA under the leadership of the COAS Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru remains resolute in ensuring stability in Benue State as well as other parts of the country that are affected by the activities of criminal gangs. The NA remains determined to ensure that this unprovoked attack does not disrupt the general peace being enjoyed by the local inhabitants.
“The COAS has therefore directed commanders on the ground to ensure sustained efforts in order to fish out and deal decisively with these bad elements who are threatening the peace in the area.
“It may be recalled that Benue State which was a hot bed for violent clashes has been enjoying relative peace following the successes achieved by the various security agencies who have been working tirelessly to safeguard law abiding citizens and ensure they go about their legitimate business without fear of harassment by criminals.
“The NA appeal to the public to volunteer useful information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of this dastardly act.”
By Abel Ejikeme