Men of the Nigerian Army, numbering over a thousand in the wee hours of yesterday, invaded Gbishe, a renowned farming community in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State and reduced over a hundred homes to rubbles.
The troops, Sunday Telegraph gathered, were deployed on the orders of the state government to comb the area and arrest the amnesty leader, Mr. Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as ‘Gana,’ who has been declared wanted by the police for masterminding the gruesome assassination of Governor Samuel Ortom’s Senior Special Adviser on Special Security, Mr. Denen Igbana, a development that metamorphosed into increased crime wave in the state.
The governor had empowered Gana to oversee and produce activities in the state, which is a major source of income generating revenue for the government. Gbishe is among the densely populated settlements that were attacked by soldiers recently during which hordes of people were killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
Sunday Telegraph gathered that dozens of the soldiers stormed the area at about 5am in 15 trucks and immediately swung into action, blocking all access roads leading in and out of the commercial town as well as the Katsina-Ala/ Takum entrance point with free movement successfully banned, after which they commenced real operation that lasted for several hours, leveling homes of innocent people.
It was gathered that at Gana’s home, thick smoke was seen, emitting into the air signifying that his home was equally destroyed as the soldiers continued their manhunt for him with women and children wailing profusely.
Briefing journalists on the incident, Acting Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Bem Melladu said the operation was approved by the state security council to be carried out by joint security agencies’ and to commence around Gbishe and its environs. Dr. Melladu said the operation became imperative following the refusal of Akwaza to report to the police to answer charges of murder, kidnappings, and armed robbery leveled against him.
He disclosed that Gana was behind the killing of five Civilian Joint Task Force members in Ukum Local Government Area as well as the kidnap of the Dangote Cement Company Indian workers.
He said the operation is part of the second phase of the Amnesty programme, which is the stick approach after the carrot strategy had expired
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Burutai has defended the ongoing military action in Gbise Community in Katsina- Ala Local Government of Benue State. General Burutai, who was represented by the Army Chief of Policy and Planning, Lincoln Ogunewe, told our correspondent in Makurdi, that the operation is aimed at fishing out a beneficiary of the Benue State Amnesty Programme, Mr Terwase Agwaza also known as Ghana, and to secure internal security in the country.