The Nigerian Army has revealed that one officer and 10 soldiers were killed in an attack on troops operating on a routine operational task in Benue State.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Army Spokesperson, Mohammed Yeeima, on Thursday.
According to him, the troops were initially declared missing and were later discovered dead in the Konshisha Local Government Area of the state by a rescue team.
It read, “The troops comprising one officer and 10 soldiers were initially declared missing which prompted the deployment of a joint search and rescue team comprising NA troops and personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke.
“The search and rescue team, unfortunately, found all the missing troops dead in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State.
“While the bodies of the slain troops were evacuated immediately, efforts are ongoing to track down the perpetrators of this heinous crime with a view to bringing them to justice.
“The NA under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru remains resolute in ensuring stability in Benue State, as well as other parts of the country that are affected by the activities of criminal gangs.
“The NA remains determined to ensure that this unprovoked attack does not disrupt the general peace being enjoyed by the local inhabitants.”
It stated that following the unfortunate incident, the COAS had directed commanders on the ground to ensure sustained efforts in order to fish out and deal decisively with the bad elements who were threatening the peace in the area.
The statement recalled that Benue State which was a hotbed for violent clashes had been enjoying relative peace following the successes achieved by the various security agencies that have been working tirelessly to safeguard law-abiding citizens and ensure they go about their legitimate business without fear of harassment by criminals.
It appealed to the public to volunteer useful information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
SaharaReporters can recall that at least 50 unarmed civilians were killed by military men in the area following reports that two soldiers were missing in the community.
It was learnt that troops of Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS) on Wednesday and Thursday morning invaded the community.
The operation, which involved the deployment of military helicopters using missile launchers, left scores of unarmed civilians dead and property said to worth billions of naira destroyed.
About 200 houses including the palace of Tyoor Unaha Kôkô in Agidi and several cars in the village, which is now deserted were set ablaze by the soldiers.