Critical Times News : Nigerian soldiers destroyed Benue village over death of colleague mistakenly killed by villagers

Published by / 20 Apr 2018 / No comments / ,

Nigerian soldiers destroyed Benue village over death of colleague mistakenly killed by villagers

Soldiers yesterday reportedly destroyed part of Naka town, headquarters of Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State in reprisal to the killing of one of their colleagues in the area last Wednesday.

According to Ter Tyoshin, a traditional ruler representing the area, Chief Daniel Abomtse, the army personnel who was killed was suspected to be one of the Fulani herdsmen who often disguise in military uniform to attack the people.

“What happened was that a farmer went inside the bush within Naka town and saw one army personnel in shorts. And this is a villager, one Sesugh Shamu. The army personnel pursued the villager, he ran and fell and they had a fisticuff.

“But he eventually escaped from the mistaken army personnel. He ran to the town to raise alarm that a militia of herdsmen had attacked him.

“A mob just went and killed the mistaken soldier. We later discovered that the deceased was an army personnel attached to the platoon that is stationed here in Naka road,” Abomtse explained.

He recalled that during the last attack on communities in the area that claimed close to 30 lives, some of the militant herdsmen who attacked the villages were dressed as if they were army personnel, stressing “that is why the people mistook this particular personnel for a militant herdsman. 

“Since his killing, we have been pleading with them to have mercy that it was a case of mistaken identity. But they did not listen.

“I was at the 77 Battalion in Makurdi up till 2am today to plead with them and also broker peace.
“They also insisted that certain names that they mentioned should be brought to their office. I went and brought all the names they mention yet they went ahead to level part of Naka town extending towards Makurdi using explosive devices.
“Though they did not kill anybody while carrying out the arson, but they took two persons away alive making it five.

“Before this particular case, our boys few days back arrested a supposed soldier who was misbehaving in the town. They took him to the Army Platoon here in Naka and the army here said he was not part of them. They arrested him and took him to Makurdi.

“So my people do not mean any harm nor would we deliberately kill the people who are helping us maintain law and order. Some of the colleagues of the mistaken soldier were posted to the Platoon four days ago. Maybe he lost his way, nobody knows. It was a clear case of mistaken identity.

“The people in Naka are living in apprehension, close to 19,000 people who are displaced from six districts of Gwer West local government area sacked by herdsmen are all resident in Naka town which has become a territory of IDPs.

The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni confirmed the development, while the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Force Brigade, Nigeria Army, Major Olabisi Ayeni who also confirmed it said the deceased soldier, Pte Damlami Gambo was discovered to be missing about 3.30pm yesterday.

He said troops immediately conducted patrols in search of the deceased after which blood stains were discovered along a footpath leading to a newly dug grave.

“They immediately dug out the grave and the body of the missing soldier was found butchered. The corpse was later exhumed and deposited at the Nigerian Air Force mortuary Makurdi.

Major Ayeni who disclosed that some suspects have been arrested by a team dispatched from the unit also said investigations are ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to the u fortunate incident and arrest all the culprits involved.

He further said that information which were made available to him about 4pm yesterday indicated that some unknown persons were burning down houses at Naka but troops dispatched there could not make contact with the perpetrators.

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