Zaki-Biam, the commercial nerve centre of the people of Sankera in Ukum local government area of Benue state witnessed heavy tension as armed gunmen attacked Tse-Ajondo, mechanic site and Tse-Uvia in the town leaving a policeman and three others dead.
New Telegraph gathered that the gunmen also allegedly abducted another Mobile Policeman on special duty in the area and burnt down the police check point near the Zaki Biam mechanic village.
Witnesses told our correspondent that the incident which started around about 10 am may have been masterminded by gang members of a notorious wanted criminal, Mr. Terwase Akwaza alias Ghana.
But a contrary version to the gruesome attack had it that the attack was allegedly sponsored by an aggrieved politician who lost the primary election in his party.
New Telegraph gathered that as a result of attack, thousands of residents flee the area for safety while market traders, schools and other business activities were shut down.
Chairman of Ukum local government area could not be reached for comments, but one of his aide who pleaded anonymity said,“they were yet to ascertain the cause of the attack, adding that the chairman had already alerted security operatives who had moved to the scene to maintain peace.
“We cannot tell exactly the level of casualty now because people ran away from the attack point and security men have gone to maintain peace.”
Confirming the incident, the State Police Command Public Relations Officer DSP Moses Yamu said they received a report at about 11 am that some armed Shitile militia aka ‘Ghana Boys dressed in PMF and Special Forces uniforms were approaching Zaki Biam town through bush paths, riding on Bajaj motorcycles.
He added that the armed men were trying to escape the ongoing joint operation tagged “Whirl Stroke” targeted at their enclaves which forced them out, to possibly seek refuge in the town.
According to Yamu, the DPO of Ukum Division on receiving the report, quickly alerted and mobilised the security forces around in order to repel the militias.
“An intense gun duel ensued in which regrettably, one Police man who was fatally injured and his rifle taken away by the militia was rushed to the hospital alongside two yet to be identified civilians (a woman and a small boy) were confirmed dead at the hospital. While three other persons who sustained injuries are currently receiving treatment at Light of Grace Hospital, Zaki Biam.
“The Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon wishes to assure the general public, especially people of Ukum and environs that effort have been intensified to bring these criminal elements to justice”, he promised.