Operations Whirl Stroke: Troops Deny Killing MACBAN Members
From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
Troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, today, denied allegations that their men killed six of members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN.
They have, however, promised to investigate those who killed two of their soldiers and unravel those sponsoring killer herdsmen.
It could be noted that Chairman of MACBAN, Mohammed Hussein had in some national dailies accused men of Operation Whirl Stroke of killing six of their members and 150 cows.
But speaking to newsman at the Tactical Air Command Headquarters, Makurdi,
Acting Director Defence Information Brig. Gen. John Agim said special forces/troops of OPWS did not kill herdsmen or cows as claimed by MACBAN chairman in Lafia.
He stated that OPWS has a duty to ensure that all the people in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara the operation is covering go about their legitimate duties without fear of molestation from any quarter.
Agim wondered why MACBAN could make such claim that their members and cows were killed after a militia group in Keana, Nasarawa state reorganised and attacked troops of OPWS killing two of their members including the commanding officer who led the operation.
“Following this incidence some troops of OPWS were mobilized for reinforcement. In the fire fight that ensued some of the militia must have sustained some casualties as we were able to extricate our men that were injured.
“In the course of the fighting OPWS troops recovered one AK 41 Rifle fitted with magazine, two locally made guns, pistol one axe and 800 rounds of 7.62mm special. This was the criminal group that our troops were able to destroy their camp.
“For the Chairman of the Nasarawa state chapter of MACBAN to identify and associate them as members of his association begs for questions and answers. While the military is not in a hurry to link MACBAN to this militia.
“Investigation has begun to unravel those behind the death of our men. “The military is ready to take down those who are responsible alongside their sponsors no matter how highly placed.
He said the OPWS has recorded tremendous achievement since it was launched two months ago.
According to him, frequency of attcks has reduced, IDPs were returning home in droves adding that a total of 100,000 IDPs have returned in Benue alone.
He said arrests have been made across the the four states by troops of the OPWS.
“So far, OPWS troops have arrested 21 suspects and recovered 20 weapons and 882 rounds of assorted ammunition in Nasarawa state since the inception of the operation.
“Similarly, the force has recovered three weapons, nine rounds of ammunition while 12 suspects were arrested in Taraba State. “In addition, we have also recovered 4 weapons and I69 rounds of ammunition as well as 13 suspects apprehended in Benue State since our operation commenced.
“OPWS was fully launched in Zamfara state and for strategic reasons, a new commander has been appointed for that Operation and to be known as OPWS ll, he is Major General Abubakar Maikobi,” Agim added.
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