Gunmen suspected to be armed robbers have killed a colonel of the Nigerian Army who was on transit through Benue State at Kastina Ala Local Government Area of the state.
Daily Trust reports that in the past two years, many lives had been lost in the Kastina-Ala axis of the state in bizarre circumstances over alleged handiwork of armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists and political rivalry among others.
Locals said that the latest killing of the Army officer on Sunday however sparked off crisis in the area as soldiers were said to have allegedly stormed the surroundings in reprisal and burnt down several houses at Sati Agirigi along Katsina-Ala-Takum highway.
It was also gathered that the soldiers have blocked the road as a result of the incident such that movement along the area had become difficult for users even as residents of the affected localities continued to desert their environment for fear.
But Governor Samuel Ortom has dismissed the claims that houses in the area were torched just as he condemned the killing of the officer who he said was coming from Lagos and passing through Kastina Ala as he was going to Tarkum in Taraba State.
Ortom explained, "I was told of the killing of a soldier in Katsina-Ala and that the deceased was in uniform and coming from lagos towards Tarkum. The incident created some crisis around the area. We were told the military men in the area went after the perpetrators.
"But it is not true that soldiers burnt houses. There were no burning of houses in the area, if there was, then, the mischief makers had cash in on the matter. But, we are on top of the situation. The case has been treated as armed robbery."
The governor therefore urged everyone along that axis to go about their businesses without fear as the matter was already being treated, adding, that a quick rapid response squad comprising the military, police and civil defence had been drafted to the area to bring the perpetrators to book.
Meanwhile, the army authority could not be reached at the time of this report as several calls put through the Public Relation Officer of the 707 Special Force of the Army in the state, Major Bisi Aryeni did not get through.