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Ortom allays fear as military begins air surveillance


The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Sunday allayed the fears of Makurdi residents and environs over the aerial surveillance being carried out by the military in parts of the state capital.

Residents of Makurdi woke up on Sunday to the sound of military aircraft hovering over the capital city and its environs, which heightened tension.

Ortom, who spoke at Petros Assembly International during a thanksgiving service and child dedication by the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Pastor Ojotu Ojema, confirmed the air raid in the state capital, but said the surveillance was targeted at flushing out criminal elements and bandits from their hideouts.

He urged residents of Makurdi and neighboring communities to cooperate with security agents, assuring that there was no cause for alarm.

However it was gathered that the Operation Whirl Stroke, which was carrying out the air surveillance, just commenced a seven-day clearing operation in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states.

A military source told our correspondent that the operation was being carried out due to the increased bandit operations in some communities across the three states which had resulted in the death of locals.

Our correspondent was informed that some soldiers on duty behind NASME Barracks in Makurdi were last week ambushed by some suspected armed herdsmen.

While the source declined comment on the attack on the personnel, he disclosed that the clearance operation covered some islands behind NASME Barracks in Makurdi and Gbajimba in the Guma Local Government Area of Benue, where it was believed that the armed bandits, who came from Nasarawa State, had their hideouts and launched attacks on innocent people.

It was gathered that within the seven days clearing operation, the air surveillance would extend its operation to the troubled Sankera area of Logo, Ukum and Katsina-Ala council areas.

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