Troops of the joint security operation codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) have arrested seven persons in connection with the killing of over 13 persons in Ukpogo Community of Edikwu district, in Apa Local Government Area of Benue State.
On Monday last week, some gunmen invaded Ukpogo village in Ediwku Community of Apa LGA early in the morning, reportedly killing no fewer than 13 people, and injuring others in the process.
The attack was said to be as a result of chieftaincy tussle between two major contenders who were eventually suspended from vying for the royal stool by State Governor Samuel Ortom.
Impeccable sources from the area disclosed to newsmen that the suspects were arrested with sophisticated weapons after some locals gave credible information about them.
One of our sources who spoke by telephone but craved anonymity disclosed that on sighting one of the attackers in the community, he quickly contacted OPWS troops who were deployed to the area to maintain peace and he was promptly arrested before he could escape to another district in the local government council.
The source said:
‘I was able to identify one of the attackers in the community while he was trying to escape to Amoke district in Apa local government area. The OPWS troops immediately swung into action and trailed the militant boy to Amoke and in the process, arrested five of them with sophisticated weapons.
‘It was when these people were arrested that one of them led the troops to their hideouts in Ugbokpo town leading to the arrest of an additional two persons.
‘In fact, I am a victim. So immediately I identified one of those who came to launched attack on us, I quickly alerted OPWS who were on patrol in the area. They came and condoned the community.
‘I want to sincerely thank the troops for their timely intervention. Their presence has brought normalcy to our community because almost all the people that fled during the attack have returned home now.’
The Force Commander of OPWS, Maj-Gen Adeyemi Yekini, declined to comment on the arrest of the suspected attackers, saying that only the Defense Head Quarters (DHQ) Information Department could comment on such matters.