OPWS troops rescue 8 kidnap victims

From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Eight victims who were reportedly kidnapped by some suspected Fulani Herdsmen in Guma local government area of Benue State have been rescued by troops of military spike operation codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS.

According to a statement signed by Governor Samuel Ortom’s

Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur and made available to newsmen on Sunday, the rescued victims all hail from Agasha Town in Guma LGA.

Ikyur who noted that the victims were abducted from their farms on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, explained that they were however rescued by OPWS troops on Saturday and have since been reunited with their families.

“As the fight against criminality intensifies in Benue State, troops from Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, Saturday, February 19th, 2022 made a huge breakthrough when they rescued 8 persons from  kidnappers den.

“The rescued locals who hail from Agasha town in Guma local government area were kidnapped on their farms by herdsmen on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022.

“They had spent over three days with their abductors before their rescue,” Ikyur said.

He disclosed further that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Lt. Col Paul Hemba (rtd) had already briefed the Governor on the successful rescue operation.

The CPS further stated that there was an exchange of gunfire when the OPWS troops made contact with the kidnappers at Gbekyor but that the troops over powered them.

He maintained that the superior fire power of the soldiers overwhelmed the kidnappers who fled in disarray, leaving behind the kidnapped victims.

Ikyur gave the names of those victims who were rescued by the soldiers to include Philip Akpage, 56yr-old, Aondokula Ijah, 30; Mrs Kwadoo Takada, 60; Mrs Kwakuma Asongu, 55; Mrs Agnes Ornguze, 54; Mrs  Yanguchan Tiv, 45; Mrs Kwadoo Mtomga,  45 and Mrs Mnembe Terlumum, 30.

In another development, three mourners who were said to be returning from a burial ceremony have been reported killed by suspected herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State on Saturday.

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Governor Samuel of Benue State hail from Guma is the Local Government area.

Confirming the the killing, the CPS said the deceased victims met their death on their way from a burial around Iordye-Gbajimba Road on Saturday evening.

“At about 5pm Saturday, February19th, 2022 suspected Fulani gunmen killed two males and a female while returning from a burial along Iordye- Gbajimba road in Guma Local Government Area of Benue state.

“The victims were riding on a motorcycle when they were ambushed and shot dead by the killer herdsmen.”

Ikyur said two of the victims died on the spot from gunshot wounds while the other was brutally macheted to death.

He added that troops of the OPWS recovered the bodies of the victims and deposited their corpses at Gbajimba general hospital.

“Sadly, this has been the plight of Benue indigenes in the hands of Fulani herdsmen who have invaded the state in a bid to take over our ancestral lands,” he said.

A military source from OPWS who did not want to be mentioned confirmed the rescue of the kidnap victims adding that troops have rescued several kidnapped victims in Benue in the last few weeks with the latest being the rescue of eight victims in the Agasha area of Guma LGA on Wednesday 16, February 2022.

Contacted, the OPWS Public Relations Officer, Flying Officer Audu Husseini Katty declined to comment on the matter but directed newsmen to the Information Department of Defence Headquarters.

Efforts to get confirmation from the Benue State Police Command through its Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, SP Catherine Anene failed as her phone was switched off and message sent to her WhatsApp page was yet to be delivered at the time of this report.

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