Wednesday, September 9, 2020 7:57 am
Security operatives in Benue State are celebrating the killing of one of the most notorious criminal gang leader with activities cutting across Benue and Taraba States, Terwase Agwaza alias Gana by Nigerian troops on Tuesday.
The Army described the elimination of the gang leader during a ‘firefight’ as another breakthrough in their efforts to rid the country of the activities of bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements.
But the Benue State Governor is crying foul over the killing of Gana, with claims that soldiers snatched the crime kingpin who was on the way to Markurdi, the State capital to meet him after he and some members of his gang accepted amnesty.
But in military’s own account narrated by Commander, 4 Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa state, Maj. -Gen. Moundhey Ali, Gana was killed at a roadblock mounted by the Army along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road following exchange of gunfire on Tuesday.
He said, At about 12:00 hours today (Tuesday), we received strategic information on the movement of the dreaded bandit Terwase Akwaza Agbadu AKA Gana along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road.
“Troops of Operation ‘Ayem Akpatuma III’ moved swiftly and mounted snap roadblocks along the routes.
“At about 13:00 hours, there was a meeting engagement with the convoy of Gana, a shoot out ensued and the bandit was killed.”
The Commander also said that 40 armed members of Gana’s gang were captured during the operation.
He said the captured gang members were in Army custody and would be handed over to the appropriate authority for prosecution.
Ali also disclosed that several rifles, pump action guns, ammunition, charms and explosives among other items were recovered from the gang.
He said Gana’s corpse had been deposited in an undisclosed hospital mortuary.
But Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom disputed the military’s claim.
According to the Governor, Gana and other members of his gang were on the way to Markurdi, the Benue State capital to accept amnesty offer of the state government after they accepted to abandon all form of criminalities and to surrender their arms and ammunitions.
It was learnt that at least, 172 militia boys, including Gana had surrendered early in the day at an event attended by traditional rulers, priests, and local government officials in Katsina-Ala local government in Benue.
Governor Ortom confirmed that Gana came out after several years of hiding and surrendered for the amnesty programme in Katsina Ala township stadium in Katsina Ala local government area of Benue north senatorial zone on Tuesday.
The Governor, however. said the gang leader, who has a bounty of N10m was snatched from a government convoy of repentant militants in Gboko.
Gana had in 2015, accepted similar offer of amnesty but returned to his alleged criminal activities.
The Police declared Gana wanted after he allegedly killed many persons and the Benue State Government later placed a N10 million naira bounty on him.
Specifically, Gana and his gang were said to be behind the murder of Governor Ortom’s aide on security, Denen Igbana as well as criminal activities in Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas and the entire Zone A senatoria part of the State.
The military had at least twice in the past few months lamented that Gana escaped during operations targeted at him and his gang members in the Katsina –Ala local government.
Some elders in the local government were led by Senator Gabriel Suswam were said to have convinced Governor Ortom to grand the new amnesty for Gana and his gang.
The Governor was waiting to receive the gang leader when news filtered in that he has been killed.