The military said certain powerful forces in Benue were responsible for the recent attacks on communities in the state.
Major General Adeyemi Yekini, the force commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), made the statement at a press briefing on Sunday, March 3, in Makurdi, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Yekini also said such individuals were instigating violence as could be seen in the recent attacks on communities preceding major elections in the country.
“It is obvious that some forces are instigating violence in Benue; it is not a coincidence that there was an attack on Agatu community a week to the presidential election and now there is another attack on Gwer West a week to the governorship election.”
It was also reported that OPWS was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 to tackle cases of armed banditry on communities in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states.
The force commander said the military outfit had intensified operations along Loko-Agatu, Kwande and other border communities in Benue to prevent reoccurrence of the attacks.
He condemned the preference to cattle over human lives by those who retaliated because of cattle theft.
Flt Officer Mohammed Abubakar, the sector commander of OPWS in Gwer West local government area, said some people were using military uniforms to rustle cattle.
“Those people who did this are suspected to be livestock guards, according to our local sources,” he said.
Abubakar said seven corpses had already been recovered.
According to him, the council chairman of Gwer West, Mr Francis Ayaga and the divisional police officer of the local government area have already submitted seven names of the suspects to him.
Meanwhile, Continentour.com.ng previously reported that thousands of residents allegedly fled from Abonnema town and neighbouring communities in Akuku-Toru local government area, Rivers state over the weekend, following ensuing confusion over the murder of two soldiers by gunmen.
Movement by boat was forestalled in the entire local government area as soldiers locked down the Abonnema waterways over the incident on Sunday, March 3.
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