- The official, who described the development as “deeply disturbing”, said no collusion was suspected on the part of soldiers
In what could be termed a brutal reality check and a huge question mark on the Nigeria army’s capability to deal decisively with the criminal elements terrorising the country, a group of rampaging bandits ambushed and overpowered a detachment of soldiers transporting weapons and cash to troubled spots in Benue state.
According to military sources, the select group of Nigerian troops were on reinforcement mission to squash pockets of communal clashes in beleaguered Benue State.
Peoples Gazette reports that a stockpile of military hardware with about N28 million cash was carted away by the marauding bandits during the daring ambush.
Citing an internal army communication, the media outlet quoted a source to have said that soldiers dispatched from Katsina-Ala Local Government Area to deliver weaponry to troops in Oju LGA (171km from Katsina-Ala) were overrun by an armed militia said to be from the Konshisha district of the state, in an attack believed to have occurred on Tuesday.
Senior military officers said N28 million was also with the soldiers at the time of the ambush, all of which the attackers cornered and disappeared into the night on the fringes of the Benue River.
“Yes, the bandits stole weapons and also about N28 million from the soldiers,” the senior officer said. “The entire situation has been under investigation since the headquarters heard about it.”
The official, who described the development as “deeply disturbing”, said no collusion was suspected on the part of soldiers.
He, however, bemoaned a situation were soldiers could be easily waylaid and overrun by a motley crowd of bandits. The source of the money and its purpose were not immediately disclosed to The Gazette.
The logistics team, led by A.T. Adedayo — an army captain — was reported missing, including a general-purpose machine gun and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Sources said the spot of the ambush was met deserted when a reinforcement deployed at Oju stormed the scene following an alert.
A joint operation by troops of 72 Special Forces Battalion and anti-banditry formation, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), was planned to be conducted in the area to rescue the missing soldiers, a source said.
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