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The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has debunked claims by Shangev-Tiev Assembly that over 70 persons were killed in Konshisha Local Government Area of the state by the military.
Ortom also revealed that three of the weapons which were seized from the military by armed militia in Konshisha have been recovered.
The governor made the disclosures when he addressed journalists at the Government House in Makurdi on Friday over the reported tension in Konshisha area of the State.
Ortom went further to explain that eight persons including two bandits who had exchanged fire with the soldiers were caught and killed, a handicapped man died after his destroyed house collapsed on him, and a middle-aged woman fell while running and died amongst four others.
‘That is the report I got from the chairman. So, I’m taken aback to hear that an unknown group held a press conference and said 70 people were killed.
‘I wish to call on the people to restrain themselves from making unguarded and unverified statements. This will not help matters. You will only succeed in aggravating the matter. You will only succeed in pouring petrol on an existing fire and you know the implications.
‘The security men you know especially the soldiers of if they were not here, we will not be here today. Herdsmen, local bandits would have consumed us,’ he said.
The governor equally used the opportunity to appeal to the military for restraint in the ongoing effort to recover their weapons so as to prevent the loss of more innocent lives in the affected communities, adding that a report from the Konshisha Council Chairman indicated that there was no operation on Friday.
Ortom further stressed that eight people, including militia members, were killed during the military operation and appealed to those fuelling the crisis in the media to desist from the act and support the government to find lasting peace in the area.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK