Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), the military spike operation in Benue state, said it recovered about 186 assorted weapons during it’s operations across three states of the country in the last one year.
The states are Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba, where OPWS said it also arrested about 171 militia and killed another forty in the year under review.
Force Commander, OPWS, Major General Adeyemi Yekini who disclosed this at a press conference in Makurdi on Monday said among the weapons recovered is one Clarion 5.56 Israeli Commando Assault rifle (FAMAS rifle), which he said is not even in the inventory of the military in Nigeria.
Giving a breakdown of the figures of the weapons recovered, he explained are 127 local rifles, 41 AK 47 rifles, 5 SIG rifles, 9 locally made pistols, 2 SMG rifles and one FN rifle.
Other items recovered from bandits and militia during the period are 3, 569 assorted ammunitions as well as charms.
He explained that “These feat were achieved through deliberate mopping up of small arms and light weapons used by the militia to terrorize the people.”
Further breakdown of the weapons recovered shows that even though OPWS carried out more operations in Benue state, it recovered more weapons in Nasarawa state.
He said “Forty one weapons, 1,293 ammunitions were recovered in Benue state; 127 weapons, 2,235 ammunitions recovered in Nasarawa state; while 10 weapons and 41 ammunitions were recovered in Taraba state.
“It will be seen from the statistics that more arms and ammunition were recovered from Nasarawa state than the other states although more operations were conducted in Benue state within the one year period.”
General Yekini said “Other achievements recorded by OPWS in the past one year include the arrest of 171 militia elements including armed herdsmen and criminals linked to Gana (Terwase Akwaza).
“Over 140 bandits were neutralized during encounters with OPWS troops in the three states.”
The Force Commander also noted that OPWS contributed to the return of over 250,000 Internally Displaced Persons (lDPs) to their ancestral homes.
He observed that out of the IDPs that have so far returned to their homes, 215,000 are from Benue; 30,000 from Taraba and 5,000 from Nasarawa state.
General Yekini also pointed out that in the last one year, troops of OPWS identified and destroyed thirty-eight militia camps across the three states.
While he stated that their operations have restored public confidence in Federal Government’s ability to tackle the insecurity in the three states, he noted that it wouldn’t have been possible without direction and support of the Federal Government, as well as other stakeholders including Service Chiefs and the media