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‘No More Olive Branch’ — Alia Vows Crackdown On Bandits After Killings In Benue

The Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, has declared an end to reconciliation efforts with bandits terrorising the state after an attack that claimed six lives in Ukum Local Government Area.

In a televised address on Thursday evening, Alia said his administration was taking new approach to combating insecurity in the state.

The bandits were reported to have attacked Ayati, Borikyo Council Ward, in what appears to be a retaliatory attack following an operation by security forces that neutralised two bandits and led to the recovery of weapons and vehicles.

The state government has since called for military intervention in Ukumi LGA and plans to set up a commission of inquiry into the incident.

“To this end, our government will in the next few days, set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of this mayhem. Additionally, more actions will be taken to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to bringing these retrogressive activities to a total end,” he said.

Alia added, “Let us not allow the actions of a few to destabilize us. We will not sit back and allow anyone or a group to frustrate the peace of the state and destabilize the government of Benue state.

“I speak today with a heavy heart, deeply saddened by the recent events in Ukum LGA. The unprovoked and senseless killing of six innocent lives by bandits on Tuesday night left all of us in mourning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims during this difficult time.

“Earlier, (that is before the incident on Wednesday), the combined efforts of our security agencies pushed back some bandits from their hideouts and subsequently neutralized two bandits, recovered seven motorcycles, two English pistols, a Toyota Camry, and commercial tricycle and lots of charms.

“As a reprisal, some bandits hit some soft target and killed the aforementioned six civilians at Ayati, believing that the members of the Ayati community were responsible for giving information on their operations and locations and handouts.

“Let me extend my hands for the last time to all our young people who have decided to live in the forest and continuously attack innocent citizens that our administration can no longer guarantee them the olive branch earlier extended to them.

“I appeal to the good people of Sankera and its environs to remain calm and exercise restraint. Let us work together to rebuild our communities and restore peace; your government is here for you and we are committed to addressing your concerns with urgency and diligence.”

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