Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke on Wednesday engaged suspected gunmen in a fierce gun battle at Abaji in Shitile axis of Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue state leading to the death of four persons with several people injured.
The troops were said to have recovered one AK47 rifle and several ammunition during the encounter with the gunmen.
Our correspondent gathered that some gunmen in military uniform had stormed the market around 5pm on motorcycles and started shooting indiscriminately leading to the death of two people and many others injured.
Chairman of the local government, Alfred Atera, who confirmed the attack said that the gunmen who are suspected to be loyal to the state warlord, Terwase Akwaza aka Gana rode into the market on motorcyclles between 4 pm and 5 pm on Wednesday.
He said, “The gunmen camouflaged in military uniform and I think why they do that is because there is a curfew in this area and only security men are allowed to ride on motorcycles.
“So they camouflaged in army uniform and rode on motorcycles into Abaji market between 4:00 and 5:00 pm and started shooting sporadically.
“But troops of Operation Whirl Stroke who were on patrol of the area were quickly alerted and they responded to a distress call and repelled the gunmen.
A military source who also confirmed to our correspondent said that troops were immediately mobilised to the Market to repel the bandits leading to a shootout between them and the bandits.
“The troops overpowered the bandits with superior firepower, following which two of the bandits were eliminated by the troops while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
“One of the troops was injured during the encounter.
The council chairman commended the efforts of the military for their prompt response to repel the gunmen.
When contacted on the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to be briefed on the matter.
“Sorry, I’m waiting for the report of the incidence. I will get back to you once I get the report,” Anene said.
The force commander of OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, could not be reached when our correspondent called.