Two soldiers attached to the ongoing Operation Whirl Stroke have been killed by suspected armed herdsmen in Benue State.
The Deputy Force Commander of the operation, Group Captain Precious Amadi, confirmed this to Channels Television on Tuesday.
He also revealed that the suspects injured five other soldiers, including a captain who led the operation on Monday at Umenger branch in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
Group Captain Amadi made the disclosure when Governor Samuel Ortom, visited the injured soldiers at Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Makurdi in the state capital.
Governor Ortom, on his part, condemned the incident and directed that the bills for the treatment of the troops and all other patients at the hospital be sent to him for payment.
He also used the opportunity to echo his call on security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah in the state.
The governor noted that failure to do so, the country would continue to be at risk even with its security assets.
The Defence Headquarters had launched Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue, as well as Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara in May to counter armed herdsmen and militia groups operating within the region.
However, the incident occurred barely two days after suspected herdsmen invaded some villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, killing scores of people in the process.
President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned the attack when he visited Plateau on Tuesday and directed the security chiefs to be vigilant and ensure the lives and property of the people were protected.
He had also appealed to Nigerians to avoid inflammatory utterances that can endanger peace or promote conflicts, referring to the security situation in Benue.
“The Benue subsistence farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle,” the President had said.
“But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them. There is some injustice in these aspersions,” he added.