Twelve members of an armed group have been killed by the Nigerian military during a raid on their hideouts in Benue State, North-central Nigeria.
According to reports, members of the armed group known locally as ‘Bonta Boys’ attacked the troops that were on a peace mission around Bonta village and surrounding communities in Konshisha and Ukpute-Ainu, Oju Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The Nigerian Government had deployed troops to patrol the area following a series of communal clashes in past months over a land tussle.
Local sources said the Bonta Boys allegedly seized some of the soldiers for destroying their illegal road barricades.
According to a Channels Television report, the military stormed the village with air and ground support, destroying all houses and hideouts accommodating the armed group, after which several arms were recovered.
Residents of Bonta village and environs have fled their villages and are currently taking refuge at Tse-Agbaragba, headquarters of Konshisha Local Government area.
Catherine Anene, the Police Public Relations Officer in Benue State, told HumAngle she didn’t have enough information at her disposal to respond to the questions relating to the raid by the military in Konshisha Local Government Area but advised the military should be contacted instead.
The Defence Headquarters in May 2018, announced the launch of Operation Whirl Stroke for Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states to counter ‘criminal herdsmen’ and militia groups operating within the region.
Brigadier General John Agim, the Acting Director of Defence Information, told journalists at the Tactical Air Command headquarters in Makurdi, Benue State capital, that the operation which began on May 8, would be jointly executed by the military, Police and Department of State Services (DSS).
Two years after Major General Adeyemi Yekini, Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke assured the residents of improved security with the operations covering both land and air targets, communities in the states still live in fear of attacks by criminal elements.