On Saturday, troops from the joint military operation codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, arrested the district head of Cha (Mue Ter Cha), Chief Utambe Adzer, in Benue state’s Ukum Local Government Area, after discovering weapons and ammunition in his palace.
According to reports, the troops also discovered other weapons at the palace of Lumbuv’s district head, Chief Teran Kwaghbo, in the same axis and attempted to arrest him, but he eluded arrest.
According to a source in the region who spoke on the condition of anonymity, OPWS troops operated on reliable information to discover the arms in the two chiefs’ palaces.
“Around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, we saw some soldiers heading towards Mue Ter Cha’s palace. Then we saw that the Chief had been apprehended by the military. We also saw them pull out some guns that had been found in his home.
“They also demolished the round hut in the palace that was said to house the arms.
“Military troops were still seen in Lumbuv District this morning (Saturday), where they also attempted to arrest the District Head, whom they (soldiers) suspected of harbouring illegal weapons. However, word got to the chief, and he escaped capture.
“As I speak to you, no one knows where the army has taken the traditional rulers,” he explained.
According to a security source, chief Adzer was recovered with one Ak47 assault rifle, one magazine, 20 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, one locally made mortar tube, and one car.
Meanwhile, another source in Ukum who requested anonymity said that the arms discovered in the traditional rulers’ homes could have been obtained for the purpose of security and defence of their families and immediate neighbourhood, given the level of insecurity in the region.
According to the source, “the weapons they said were discovered in the Chiefs’ homes could have been acquired for self-defense.” We are all aware of the degree of insecurity in the Sankera axis and how Chiefs and their subjects are being murdered by bandits and armed loyalists of the late militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias ‘Gana.’
“As a result, the Chiefs are likely to hold the weapons in order to defend themselves, their families, and the surrounding community from attacks by militia gangs. So, unless proved otherwise, they should not be demonised in the media,” he added.
Translator Nigeria News recalls that armed bandits suspected of being loyalists of the late ‘Gana’ have been terrorising the state’s Sankera axis, which includes the LGAs of Ukum, Logo, and Katsina-Ala, killing unsuspecting members of the public.
When contacted, OPWS Force Commander Brigadier General Clement Apere declined to comment, stating that he could not comment on ongoing operations. He did, however, guide journalists to the Defence Headquarters Information Unit in Abuja.