Houses burnt down in Benue state allegedly by soldiers (Photo:SaharaReporters)
According to a report by Sahara Reporters, armed men, dressed in military camouflage, invaded the community, shot sporadically and set houses on fire leaving residents homeless.
Chairman of the local government, Francis Ayagahby confirmed to Premium Times that the soldiers were on a reprisal attack over the killing of one of their colleagues near the community on Wednesday.
“A soldier was killed by hoodlums yesterday, but I met with the brigade commander around 4:30 a.m. today.
“He gave me a list of suspects and we arrested five of them overnight. It was while we were trying to take them to the brigade that soldiers stormed the town and started burning houses.
“A part of the town has been completely burnt down and we’re appealing for help and understanding from the soldiers,” he added.
Reacting, the Nigerian Army explained what led to the burning down of a Benue community by its troops on Wednesday, saying the attack followed the killing of one soldier by some residents.
The soldier was allegedly buried in a shallow grave a day before, but the apparent reprisal by the army resulted in the death of one elderly citizen who was killed in the blaze. The soldier was said to have been alone when he was killed in unclear circumstances Wednesday afternoon.
Olabisi Ayeni, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, identified the slain soldier as Danlami Gambo, a private.
He said; “On 18 April 2018, at about 3:30 pm, troops of 707 Sf Brigade deployed at Naka in Gwer West LGA of Benue State observed the absence of PTE Danlami Gambo from his duty post. The soldier’s rifle was however found at the location.
“It was gathered that the soldier was last seen receiving a phone call but left in search of network and did not return. Troops immediately conducted patrols to search for the soldier during the search, at about 6.10 pm, our troops observed blood stains along a footpath leading to a newly dug grave.
“They immediately dug out the grave and the dead body of the missing soldier was found butchered. The corpse was later exhumed and deposited at the Nigerian Air Force mortuary, Makurdi.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that some locals were involved in the killing of the soldier which has led to the arrest of some suspects by a team dispatched from the unit to the scene of the incident,” Mr Ayeni, a major, said in a statement Thursday evening.
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