Police kill 3 herdsmen in counter-terrorism operation

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At least three menacing herdsmen have been killed in the on-going counter terrorism operation by the police in Benue state.

The police launched the operation after series of attack by suspected herdsmen in the state which had led to the death of many, including a police officer.

The police officer was recently killed at Yogbo village.

The Commissioner of Police in Benue State, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, confirmed the commencement of the counter-terrorism operation.

He said this is aimed at flushing out herdsmen who are reportedly armed and perpetrating violent attacks in the state.

Owoseni said, three of the armed herdsmen were gunned down, prompting the combined team of the police counter-terrorism and special force team to move in for mop-up operations.

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The police boss said another policeman was still missing, added that credible intelligence revealed the targeting of police personnel by the armed herdsmen.

The armed herdsmen, he explained, are believed to be from the Rukubi axis of Doma Local Government Area bordering Yogbo and Yelwata communities of Benue State.

The Chairman of Guma Local Government, Mr. Anthony Shawon, also confirmed the killing of four persons in the Yogbo attack.

He said the suspects invaded the village at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and unleashed mayhem.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue had on Saturday condemned the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, for blaming Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted by the state government for the recent killings.

Ortom said the comments of IGP indicated complicity in the act and an abdication of responsibility to protect the citizens and maintain law and order.

He explained that the killings in Benue caused the enactment of the law.

Notorious native doctor, Tordue Gber (Tiv Swem), who allegedly acts as a spiritual adviser to wanted armed criminal militias, had also been killed.

He was killed by the military in a operation at Tor-Dunga town in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman, confirmed in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The suspect was also accused of providing spiritual support to wanted notorious criminal suspect, Akwazar Terwase, also known as Gana.

“Preliminary investigation shows that Mr Tordue Gber (Tiv Swem) acts as spiritual counsellor that provides Gana with “diabolical” powers.

“The shrine serves as hideout for wanted armed militia, meeting and planning point for operations and logistics base for the criminal armed militias that operate in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States,” Usman said.

Troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade arrested Tordue on Monday following a raid of his shrine in the state, he explained.

He was arrested along with one Atoo Kuwe Francis – suspected to be his accomplice – while reportedly planning to carry out an attack and abduct one Zaya at Tse Bente village in the same local government.

The native doctor was, however, “shot dead during the struggle to disarm him.”

Items recovered by troops during the operation include a locally fabricated pistol, two Baretta pistols, 11 rounds of 9mm ammunition, three motorcycles, and assorted charms.

Also retrieved at the hideout are warm clothing for concealing weapons, two mobile telephones and three generators amongst other items.