Two armed men dressed in military camouflage were reportedly killed on Wednesday at Abaji in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, hours after opening fire on traders at Abaji market, killing on person and injuring many others.
The bandits said to be loyalists of the late militia leader, Terwase Agwaza, popularly known as Gana, were reportedly killed in a gun battle with troops of the joint military operation code-named Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS).
VANTAGE NEWS learnt that the troops of OPWS responded to a distress call from the market at the time of the attack that started at about 4:30 pm.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, Catherine Anene, said some police officers were drafted to the scene to restore peace.
She also said the corpse of the dead has been deposited to the hospital while the injured are receiving treatment at the Katsina-Ala General Hospital.
The Chairman of Katsina-Ala LGA, Alfred Atera, who also confirmed the attack to Vanguard, blamed it on loyalists of the late Gana who were demanding revenue from markets in Katsina-Ala LGA.
Atera said, “They are Gana’s men, they do not want any market to operate in Katsina-Ala because, according to them, the past local government council chairmen were paying them revenue and that when I came in, I stopped giving them revenue, that is the problem.
“Only recently, they also attacked Tor Donga, and now they have attacked Abaji. They are out to attack markets.
“In this attack at Abaji market, they shot 14 persons and one died that yesterday, while 13 others are in hospitals. But the military went after them and gunned down two of them and recovered one AK47 rifle and live ammunition.
“I must commend the efforts of the military and the police. They are doing their best and we will continue to assist in any way possible and eventually Katsina-Ala will be completely secured from the activities of these bandits.”