Commander of the military’s Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Adeyemi Yekini, who confirmed the attack said that seven persons were killed by yet-to-be identified gunmen in Agabge village.
Yekini, who spoke to newsmen about the killing at a press conference on Sunday in Makurdi, also warned troublemakers in Benue State to desist or face the wrath of the law.
The commander said that seven names of suspects who were allegedly involved in the violence that led to the killings have been forwarded to OPWS by the council chairman of the area and would be handed to the police for arrest.
“It is obvious that some forces are bent on instigating violence in Benue State and they are armed too: “I am warning them to stop immediately or else the arm of law will catch up with them,” he said.
Yekini, while corroborating the account of his unit commander overseeing the Gwer West axis, Flight Lieutenant, Abubakar Mohammed, explained that some gunmen, dressed in military uniforms, had on Saturday killed innocent people and rustled cattle in the Agabge area.
Yekini also confirmed that those killed in the attack were innocent natives of the Agagbe community, adding that investigation was ongoing to unravel the attackers to bring them to book.
Earlier, the OPWS unit commander had told newsmen that, acting on a tip-off, he had led his patrol team to where some men (not his soldiers) in military uniform rustled cattle in the area in his very presence.
Mohammed said his troops repelled the attackers and recovered three corpses, which they brought to Naka town and, later, another four copses were recovered, bringing the number to seven.
In a telephone chat with newsmen, the Gwer West council boss, Ayaga, insisted that 16 people were killed in the attack, which he alleged was carried out by militia herdsmen.
Ayagah, who gave the names of the affected villages under Agagbe community as Tse-Tuma, Shaia, Tse-Jagu and surrounding villages, urged the military to fish the killers.
He confirmed that he has forwarded seven names of suspects who he wanted the police to investigate to the OPWS.