rmed men believed to be soldiers have stormed Naka, the administrative headquarters of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State burning several houses and destroying properties worth millions.
Residents of Naka who escaped the onslaught told our correspondent that the town was raided on Thursday by soldiers who were searching for one of their colleagues.
They said the trouble started on Wednesday when a man in military uniform came into the town and bought bread worth over N7,000.
The locals, having watched the uniformed man who was said to have looked like a herdsman, approached him, demanding his identity but he failed to show a means of identification to prove he was a soldier.
Subsequently, the youths were said to have taken the man to a military camp near Naka where soldiers in the camp could not also identify him as their colleagues.
“When the soldiers could not identify him, the boys took him away and the next thing we heard was that he was killed,” one of the residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.
But the story changed on Thursday morning when soldiers came into the town which is currently housing thousands of internally displaced persons from the Agagbe axis of the state saying the uniformed man was their colleague and should be released to them.
Failure by the youths to produce the man who is suspected to have been killed was said to have sparked off the mayhem.
As a result, residents of the town have deserted the town for fear of being harmed or killed.
Army confirms soldier’s murder
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Major Olabisi Ayeni, in a statement after the incident, said that a soldier, Private Danlami Gambo, was allegedly killed and buried in the shallow grave on Wednesday by some youths in Naka who then fled.
According to him, after preliminary investigations showed that some locals were involved in the killing, a team of troops dispatched to the scene of the incident arrested some suspects.
The statement read, “On 18 April 2018, at about 3:30 pm, troops of 707 Sf Brigade deployed at Naka in Gwer West LGA of Benue State observed the absence of PTE Danlami Gambo from his duty post. The soldier’s rifle was however found at the location.
“It was gathered that the soldier was last seen receiving a phone call but left in search of network and did not return. Troops immediately conducted patrols to search for the soldier during the search, at about 6.10 pm, our troops observed blood stains along a footpath leading to a newly dug grave. They immediately dug out the grave and the dead body of the missing soldier was found butchered. The corpse was later exhumed and deposited at the Nigerian Air Force mortuary, Makurdi.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that some locals were involved in the killing of the soldier which has led to the arrest of some suspects by a team dispatched from the unit to the scene of the incident. Investigations are ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of the soldier and to also arrest all the culprits involved.”