Military exercise, Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, has reported the loss of three of its personnel during a fierce armed herdsmen attack on communities in Agatu Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State.
Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, the Force Commander of OPWS, provided a detailed account of the incident, revealing that two other members sustained injuries in the line of duty.
Igbinomwanhia said the military’s quick response was triggered by the influx of residents fleeing the Okokolo community on Thursday.
“On inquiry, the troops were informed that terrorists suspected to be armed herdsmen were advancing towards the town to attack it.
“The troops immediately mobilised and proceeded to the community which is about 15km from their base”, he narrated.
DAILY POST reports that the military encountered the armed bandits engaged in an attack on the community and engaged them in a gun battle.
According to the commander, a three-hour gun battle ensued, resulting in the successful repelling of the attackers.
“The attack was successfully repelled with the terrorists withdrawing in disarray while evacuating their dead and wounded.” He further stated.
Major General Igbinomwanhia expressed the high cost incurred by the military in securing Agatu, stating, “The success achieved was, however, at a huge cost with three of the troops paying the supreme sacrifice to prevent the killing of the inhabitants of Okokolo and the intended sacking of the community.”
Among the casualties were two soldiers and one personnel from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps while two other soldiers sustained injuries and were promptly evacuated to the Nigerian Air Force Hospital in Makurdi for medical attention.
He informed that Governor Hyacinth Alia, represented by Deputy Governor Sam Ode, visited the troops alongside himself.
The Governor conveyed his condolences, commending the gallantry exhibited by the troops, assuring the Joint Task Force of the State Government’s unwavering support and pledged assistance in the treatment of the wounded soldiers.