Troops of the Nigerian military have arrested 10 suspected criminals and recovered 16 weapons following the communal clash that took place recently between Ibilla and Ukpa communities in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State.
The joint military troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) arrested 10 suspects, recovered 16 riffles and several pieces of ammunition in different parts of the two communities.
The two border communities were engulfed in crisis over delineation exercises being embarked upon by the National Population Commission (NPC) in the areas.
It was gathered that NPC officials had arrived in the area to carry out the delineation exercise when some members of the two communities took up arms against each other and started shooting sporadically in all directions, thereby destroying several houses.
It was further gathered that a joint troops of OPWS and troops of 72 battalion were immediately contacted and swiftly drafted to the area, and in the process arrested 10 suspects, recovered 16 firearms and 59 rounds of ammunition.
A source from one of the warring communities, who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity, said the arrival of the joint troops to Ibilla and Ukpa communities brought the situation under control.
He further said the joint troops carried out a two-day condone-and-search operation to be able to arrest the culprits.
According to him, “On the first day that the army troops arrived in the areas, they arrested nine people, recovered nine firearms, 59 ammunition, eight cutlasses, two axes, nine handsets and one Volkswagen vehicle.”
The troops were also said to have raided the two communities last Sunday night during which they recovered seven more firearms and arrested a suspect.
The boys thought that the soldiers had left, and they came out in the night to wreak further havoc when the soldiers swooped in on them and arrested nine of them with some arms and ammunition.”
The source could not however tell where the suspects were taken, but it was gathered from security sources that they were taken to Makurdi for further interrogation.
When contacted, the Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, declined to comment but directed THISDAY to the Defence Headquarters Information Department.
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