Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has condoled President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff over the killing of 12 military personnel in Bonta Village, Konshisha Local government area of the state.
Ortom also sympathised with the leadership of security forces in the country as well as families of the fallen heroes even as he vowed that his government would collaborate with security agencies to ensure that all those who were in perpetrating the act would be fished out and brought to book.
Speaking at the burial, which took place at the Military Cemetery, Wurukum, Makurdi yesterday, the state governor regretted the death of the army personnel in the hands of the militias while trying to ensure peace in troubled areas of the state.
“We condemn the killing of the soldiers who were out to maintain peace. Attack on security men is attack on all. The attack was uncalled for and unwarranted.
“They were out to keep peace and got killed in the process, otherwise, we all know what soldiers would ordinarily do in such a situation.”
The governor also passionately appealed to the families of the deceased soldiers to forgive him for uncomplimentary comments he may have made in the course of the situation, saying he said that based on the information available to him at the time.
“If I said anything that was offensive to the families, I ask for their forgiveness. I earlier said only two soldiers were involved, based on the information available to me at that time.”
The remains of 12 military personnel, including one captain and 11 soldiers, were committed to mother earth in the presence of the governor, Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, the Commanding Officer, 72 Battalion, military personnel as well as family members of the deceased soldiers.
Conducting the funeral service, Chaplain of 73 Battalion, Major Ibrahim Mavisky, as well as the Imam, Captain AA Bashir, both noted that the fallen heroes were peacemakers who went out not for evil, but for peace and regrettably met their death in the process.
“These people died innocently and without any offence. It is the promise of God that each of us has a stipulated time to go.
“We will all go back to God, someday, and explain how we live our lives. God will console the entire Nigerian Army and the immediate families they left behind.