Herdsmen attack Benue police camp, kill two

• President Buhari orders IGP’s relocation to state
• Three soldiers, 107 B’Haram fighters die in clashes

Herdsmen on Monday stormed a police camp at Awashuwa village in Logo Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State, killing two personnel.

Sources disclosed that the assailants had struck the base earlier in the day but were repelled. They, however, regrouped in the evening and staged the fatal attack.

A policeman who survived the incident said the herdsmen swooped on the camp in large numbers, overpowering the officers. The inspector and a sergeant who were wounded later had their throats slit. The attackers also burnt some houses.

Another policeman who was seriously injured was stabilised at Anyii General Hospital before he was moved to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) in Makurdi.

The remains of the deceased policemen have been deposited at the mortuary in Makurdi.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abdul Gimba, during an aerial surveillance operation, was said to have made a stopover at Awashuwa while the corpses were being evacuated.

“Our men came under attack at Awashuwa. They were ambushed by herdsmen who had tried to attack them earlier in the day but were repelled. Two of our men were killed and their rifles taken away,” a police spokesman confirmed, adding that a reinforcement from 13 Police Mobile Force had been sent to the area, led by Chief Superintendent Abubakar Gimba.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to relocate to the state.

On Monday, Buhari ordered the police boss to relocate immediately, with a mandate to “restore law and order, prevent further loss of life and forestall the crisis from escalating.”

A statement by police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Jimoh Moshood, reads: “In compliance with the presidential directive, the IGP is moving into Benue State with additional five units of Police Mobile Force (PMF), making a total of 10 units deployed in the state, in addition to other police formations on ground in the state before the crisis.”

It notes: “Following the recent unfortunate killings of innocent people in Guma and Logo LGAs and the intervention and ongoing efforts by the Nigeria Police Force to restore peace in the state, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered that the Inspector General of Police move immediately to the state.”

According to the police, “More units of special forces, counter-terrorism units and conventional policemen are already being deployed,” in compliance with the order.

“Aerial surveillance by police helicopters will continue, while the mobile force personnel, special forces and conventional personnel, the counter-terrorism unit, explosive ordinance department and special joint intelligence and investigation teams already deployed will carry on unrelentingly with the patrols and crime prevention activities in the affected areas, to sustain the normalcy that has been restored.”

The police force stressed it would “not hesitate to deal decisively with trouble makers, groups or individuals likely to escalate the crisis.”

In a statement, yesterday, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) called on the Federal Government to bring perpetrators of the Benue killings to book.

“We condemn these killings in all their entirety and demand an end to them immediately,” said President Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi.

Also, three soldiers died on Monday and nine others sustained injuries. More than 107 militants were also gunned down and various arms and ammunition recovered.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday, while giving an update on success in Metele village, Tumbun Gini and Tumbun Ndjamena.

“Troops in Operation Lafiya Dole have been making tremendous progress in the ongoing Operation Deep Punch 2,” Usman said. “Sadly, four of our troops paid the supreme price while nine others were wounded in action. Specifically, a Boko Haram vehicle laden with Improvised Explosive Devices rammed into an MRAP vehicle, which exploded, killing three soldiers, a civilian JTF, and wounding other soldiers.”

He added: “Troops also captured one anti-aircraft gun, 116 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition with metal links, four Ak-47 rifles, 57 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition (special), two light machine guns, two rocket propelled grenades, seven RPG tubes, one RPG bomb and 36 hand grenades.”