Troops of the Nigerian Army on Monday morning threw caution to the wind as they unleashed havoc on Sati-Agirigi settlement area located along Katsina-Ala/Takum road in Katsina-Ala local government area of Benue State, burning down more than 20 houses in reprisal for the killing of their colleague said to be an army Colonel.
Sources say the soldiers went beserk after they concluded that youths from the area killed the army colonel on Sunday.
However, it was reliably gathered that the soldier was killed by armed robbers.
So far there has been no causalities as a result of the irrational action of the soldiers.
Nonetheless, the houses burnt by the rampant soldiers are said to be worth hundreds of million Naira.
Recall that the infamous Zaki Biam massacre also took place in Benue State in 2001 under the watch of former president Olusegun Obasanjo – two years after Odi Massacre in Bayelsa State.
The soldiers of the Nigerian Army has a history of killing and harassing people they were recruited to defend.
Under Buhari’s watch, 347 Shiite Muslims were killed by soldiers of the Nigerian Army during the December 12, 2015 Shiite/Nigerian Army clash in Zaria.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Government has confirmed the killing of the Colonel in Katsina – Ala axis.
State Governor, Samuel Ortom, while confirming the incident, denied that soldiers invaded and set ablaze houses in Katsina-Ala.
However, residents insists that the army burnt many houses in the area.
Ortom told Newsmen in Makurdi , “I was told of the killing of a Colonel in Katsina-Ala yesterday. He was in uniform and coming from Lagos towards Takum.
“That created some crisis around the area, we were told the military men in the area went after the perpetrators. It is not so, but the mischief makers tried to cash in on the matter.
“We are on top of the situation. The case has been treated as armed robbery case.”
“I have sent my security adviser alongside quick rapid response comprising the military, Police Commissioner and NSCDC to the area and the perpetrators will be brought to book.”
Activities were however paralyzed in area as the unlawful action of the soldiers made movement into Takum from Katsina-Ala difficult. Barricades were mounted on the highway to restrict human and vehicular traffic.
The soldiers, after hours of the chaos they created, later retreated.
The Army spokesman of the 707 Special Forces Battalion, Major Olabisi Ayeni, could not be reached on telephone.