Commander of the Special Task Force, Maj. Gen. Henry Ayoola, has said his men have killed 100 militiamen that have been attacking some villages in the southern part of Plateau State.
He said soldiers of the STF had also secured the entire stretch of the senatorial zone against future attacks.
Some gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, had invaded three communities of Langtang South Local Government in the state last Thursday, killing 28 members of the communities. Thousands of the residents were also said to have fled their homes.
Speaking in Jos on Wednesday, Ayoola said STF had deployed quick response squad in the area, and assured the residents that their lives and property were secured.
Ayoola said, “So far, we have killed more than 100 of the attackers before we succeeded in securing the areas. You know, it is the practice of the attackers not to leave any of their members behind wherever they come to attack; they pick their corpses along.
“However, before the gunmen retreated, we had killed over 20 of them. My troop trailed them in their direction and gunned down several of them days after the attack.
“As soon as the STF got the information, we moved in there to confront the attackers last week, the attackers challenged my troops but when they discovered we had superior fire, they fled.”
The commander added, “It is not true that fighting is still going on there, but who is fighting who? We chased the attackers away; that same day they came and we killed them in numbers. Those who escaped never came back since then. So, who is fighting who in Langtang?
“The fact that we have secured the place by driving the attackers away does not mean we have left the place. The troops are all over the place conducting intensive patrol from dusk to dawn and dawn to dusk.
“One fact people are not aware of is that the casualties are more on the side of the attackers. We have killed more than 100 of them as they tried to escape. No single resident of the community has been killed by anyone since then, and we will not allow any residents to be killed any longer because we are on ground.”
He urged residents of the affected communities, who fled their homes out of fear, to return home, assuring them that soldiers had taken control of the areas.
Ayoola also appealed to the people of the area to cooperate with his men by providing them with relevant information and report promptly any suspicious movements by any individual or group to security agencies.
He also warned the people of the state against spreading false information, saying such was capable of aggravating the situation.
While condemning what he described as over sensationalisation of the reports of the crisis, Ayoola said, “This is not a case of ethnic crisis between Fulani and Tarok; it was a case where some gunmen came to attack residents of three communities in Langtang South LGA.”