John Charles, Makurdi
A combined team of security operatives led by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke has arrested 10 suspects and recovered 16 rifles as well as several ammunition in the troubled Ibilla and Ukpa communities in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State.
The two border communities were last Friday engulfed in crisis during the visit of the National Population Commission team to the area to carry out delineation.
Several houses were set ablaze and many people injured during the clash.
A group of mobile policemen, troops of OPWS and troops of 72 Battalion were reportedly drafted to the area and in the process arrested 10 suspects, recovered 16 firearms and 59 rounds of ammunitions.
A source from one of the communities, who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity, said the arrival of the joint military troops to Ibilla and Ukpa communities brought the situation under control.
He further said that 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 arrived at the areas, they arrested nine people, recovered nine firearms, 59 ammunition, eight cutlasses, two axes, nine handsets and one Volkswagen car.
“On Sunday night, troops also raided the two communities during which they recovered seven more firearms and arrested one more suspect.
“The boys thought that the soldiers had left and had again come out in the night to wreak further attacks when the soldiers swooped on them and arrested nine of them with some arms and ammunition.”
The suspects were said to have been moved to Makurdi for further interrogation.
When contacted, the Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, declined to comment but directed our Correspondent to the Defence Headquarters Information Department.
Meanwhile, the State Command Spokesperson, Catherine Anene, confirmed the arrest of four persons and added that investigation was still in progress.
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