Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), a military operation in Benue State, said it has deployed men to the Tyo-Mu general area to forestall further attacks by armed bandits.
The Commander of OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini disclosed this, on Tuesday, when he took journalists round the Tyo-Mu where Governor Samuel Ortom was reportedly attacked by armed Herdsmen last Saturday.
Yekini who was accompanied to the site by the Security Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom, Col. Paul Hemba (rtd) noted that his troops immediately moved in to clear the area and would remain there for the next few days after which they would continue to patrol the area.
He noted that the patrol would help check cases of militia herdsmen and other criminal elements emerging from the forest across River Benue to unleash mayhem on the people.
“We are here to show you that the general area is clear of any bandits. The incidence is quite unfortunate. We should not be judged by this singular incidence. We have accepted it was a security breach and we are working to address it. We have made a lot of progress in the state because before we came, Benue was a killing galore but we have substantially restored peace in the state.”
Yekini said since OPWS came on board three years ago, over 1000 armed criminals have been neutralized, and close to 700 weapons recovered in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States with the highest number of arms recovery made in Benue.
He urged the people of the state, especially those in Sankera axis; Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala to cooperate with security agencies by giving useful information that would help them flush out criminals in the area.
The Security Adviser, Col. Paul Hemba disclosed that five empty shells were recovered from the area saying no arrest had been made yet.
He, however, said that three local fishermen who reside in the area were invited for questioning after which they were allowed to go home.
Hemba who commended the swift response of troops of OPWS to the area said as soon as the troops were alerted, they moved in to comb the area but that the armed bandits had ran away by the time the troops arrived.
“We are at the sight of the unfortunate incidence of the attack on Governor Samuel Ortom. He came into his farm and while touring the farm, he went to a small market and on his way back the gunmen who were hiding in the bushes opened fire on him.
“We quickly alerted the OPWS and they immediately responded and gave them a hot chase and have been combing the bushes since then. We commend OPWS for their prompt response.
“The troops combed the bushes and found some makeshift hideouts and burnt them. We couldn’t make any arrest because the bandits ran away as soon as the troops arrived,” Hemba said.