Herdsmen in gun battle with soldiers in Benue



9th February 2018

Suspected herdsmen engaged men of the 707 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Makurdi, Benue State in a gun battle last Tuesday.

The  SFB spokesman, Major Olabisi Ayeni, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.

He said the suspects were plotting to attack a fish farm, which belongs to  Governor, Samuel Ortom.

Ayeni said two of the attackers had been arrested.

Ayeni said: “Troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigerian Army, on a routine patrol along Gbajimba – Iyiodeh road in Guma LGA of Benue State on Tuesday 6 February 2018 arrested two Fulani militia who were suspected to be planning a dangerous mission,”

“The troops sighted a group of these people while on their daily patrol. The militia who were suspected to be converging, possibly for an attack on Governor Orton's fish farm and other innocent citizens were about to be approached for questioning when they opened fire on the troops who later engaged them.

According to him: “When the troops accosted the herdsmen, they opened fire on the troops, who in turn engaged them in a shoot-out.

“In the course of the shootout, some of the herdsmen fled the area,  while two were arrested and handed over to the police.”

Benue has been a flashpoint of violence, especially between farmers and herdsmen. Some of the security personnel deployed in the state have been killed in their bid to restore normalcy.

On Wednesday, the army listed Benue among the six states where it would launch a 44-day operation to tackle insecurity.

When he visited Nasarawa earlier in the week, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security operatives to arrest those perpetrating violence in the country.

Meanwhile, former governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam has taken a swipe on President Muhammadu Buhari for not visiting since the invasion of the state by herdsmen which resulted in the gruesome murder and eventual burial of 73 innocent people in the state.

Suswam stated this in a chat with newsmen when Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike stopped over at his Makurdi residence after he paid a condolence visit on  Orton and the Benue people on Wednesday.

The former governor who was reacting to the recent visit of President Buhari to Nasarawa State said the president should have visited Benue first to commiserate with the government and people of the state over the loss of many innocent lives but he didn’t do that.

“I am not in a position to comment on his visit (to Nasarawa) because I’m not in his party. Secondly, I know that as a president, he must have had his programme outlined for the year but that notwithstanding, the Benue case is an emergency.

“One would expect that a place that lost 73 people at once, he (Buhari) would have been more concerned about visiting such area. One would expect that a responsive government would have visited Benue to condole with the people over the gruesome murder of innocent lives,” Suswam posited.

Suswam who totally condemned the Benue killings disclosed that he had already sent a condolence message to his successor,  urging him to convey a meeting with stakeholders across party lines to find a lasting solution to the incessant invasion and killings by herdsmen in the state.


He commended Wike for visiting to commiserate with the state government and Benue people,  stressing that the gesture was in the spirit of brotherliness and had nothing to do with politics.


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