BEVERLY HILLS, January 10, (THEWILL) – The Benue state government has denied recruiting the militia group whose has nine members were arrested, in possession of five AK 47 rifles, by the Army in Takum, Taraba State.
THEWILL recalls that Spokesperson of the 13 Brigade, Capt. Kayode Owolabi, had revealed that the suspects were arrested by troops of 93 Battalion deployed in Arufu, a border town between Taraba and Benue states.
He said the Troops disarmed and arrested the armed men who claimed to be members of an armed militia known as civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in Taraba with five AK 47 rifles.
“Before their arrest, reinforcement of Civilian JTF came to prevent the troops from arresting and transporting the suspects to 93 Battalion Headquarters,” he said.
“During preliminary investigation, the suspects claimed that the weapons were issued to them by the Benue State Government. They also confirmed that they were 60 in number in their camp located in Pegie.
“Additionally, they revealed that the Benue State Government pay them the sum of N60,000 monthly. They further revealed that they were trained by ex-service men and they were brought together from all the localities in Benue State.
But the Benue State Government in a statement denied the claims saying the present administration of Governor Samuel Ortom has not engaged the group since he assumed office.
“We wish to state categorically that the Benue State Government under Governor Samuel Ortom has not recruited any militia group and armed them since the Governor assumed office,” the state insisted.