By G9ija

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday confirmed the killing of the ‘most wanted criminal’ in Benue State, Terwase Akwaza, alias Gana’.

Consequently, the Benue State Security Council plans to meet with stakeholders from Sankera today.

Briefing journalists after the State Security Council meeting at the Government House, Makurdi, yesterday, Governor Samuel Ortom said the meeting would review the situation in Sankera area following the incident.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. John Enenche, who confirmed the death of the militia leader at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, noted that 40 members of Gana’s gang were also captured alongside arms and ammunition.

Benue government had in 2015 granted amnesty to over 500 bandits that were terrorising parts of Benue and Taraba states, including Gana, but most of them later relapsed into criminality.

The police, however, declared Gana wanted in 2017, while the Benue government placed a N10 million bounty on him.

“In addition on September 8, 2020, troops of Operation Ayem Akpatuma III killed a militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana, during an encounter with troops around Gboko in Benue State. Forty members of his gang were also captured alongside arms and ammunition,” Enenche stated.

According to him, On September 5, 2020, troops of Operation Safe Haven also raided hide-outs of suspected Sara Suka criminals at Yantifa, New Market, Terminus and Bauchi road in Jos North Council of Plateau State.

“Troops apprehended 20 Sara Suka suspects at the location, while two members of a syndicate specialising in the production of fake security agencies’ identity cards were also apprehended.

“All the arrested suspects are being profiled after which they will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action,” he added.

He noted that troops of Sector 1 deployed at Gagbe in Gwer West Council of Benue conducted a dawn raid on another hide-out at Tse Agi and apprehended four suspects while one AK-47 rifle, two AK-47 rifle magazines and 46 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition were also recovered at the location.

Ortom stated that the council also resolved to continue with the amnesty programme to cover those who retreated, even as he allayed the fears of the repentant youths being part of the programme.

He explained that the 42 youths from Logo were successfully profiled and allowed to go back home, pointing out that a committee headed by Security Adviser to the Governor, Col. Paul Hembah (rtd.) was constituted to work out some support for the repentant youths.

He said his special advisers would also be part of the committee.