“Why Soldiers Burnt Houses In Benue State” – Army Spokesperson
The Nigerian army has taken responsibility for the attack, which resulted in burning down of houses in a Benue community on Thursday.
The Army said the attack was in retaliation for the killing of a soldier by some residents of the community.
This was made known by Olabisi Ayeni, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, who identified the slain soldier as Danlami Gambo.
The soldier was said to have been alone when he was killed in unclear circumstances on Wednesday afternoon.
The soldier was thereafter buried in a shallow grave, according to the Army spokesperson.
The apparent reprisal by the army resulted in the death of one elderly citizen who was killed in the blaze.
Olabisi who said that preliminary investigations revealed that some locals were involved in the killings of the soldier, did not say if the soldiers who participated in the reprisal attack that left a senior citizen dead would be punished for the offence or not.
Also confirming the military’s attack on the community, Francis Ayagah, chairman of the local government told newsmen that the soldiers were responsible for the attack.
While confirming the killing of a soldier in the community, Ayagah said he had been in touch with the commander of the troops stationed near the town to check ongoing killings linked to herdsmen across Benue State.
Mr. Ayyagah who earlier confirmed the arrest of five suspects linked to the death of the military personnel, expressed his dismay that the soldiers could still embark on rampage across the town despite his cooperation.
A member of the community said that the military official who was roaming on a farmland near the community, was lynched by hoodlums who mistook him for an intruder, saying that there have been reports that some killers were sighted in military fatigues in the state over the past weeks.
Another account said that the slain soldier went to buy bread in large quantity in the community and when asked to identify himself by curious residents, he declined to do so and was subsequently assumed to be an attacker and mobbed to death.
The attack by the soldiers has resulted in many people running away from the town because there’s nobody to protect them from attacks by gunmen.
According to reports, the situation had been made worse by the withdrawal of police Special Forces from the community following a clash between the officers and commercial motorcyclists a few weeks ago.
This website had earlier reported how about 20 houses were set ablaze in gunmen in military camoflague.