Gabriel Suswam, the Senator representing Benue North-East District and former Governor, has condemned the Nigerian Army for using helicopter strikes on unarmed Tiv communities in the Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State, SaharaReporters reports.
Suswam, who has raised a petition to the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, to investigate the invasion, noted on Friday that the army, under the guise of some miscreants who ambushed their convoy between Ukpute and Bonta, went as far as striking Tiv villages in Shangev Tiev outside the crisis zone.
The senator, in a release obtained by SaharaReporters, noted that his people believed that the military attack is hence “premeditated to terrorise, destabilise and depopulate the affected Tiv communities.”
“In the past 96 hours, there has been a sustained military attack conducted by troops with air support of a helicopter gunship targeting unarmed civilian communities in Konshisha LGA. The killings and wanton destruction perpetrated by the marauding soldiers are akin to a war zone.
“Senator Suswam is deeply worried that the invasion which was alleged to be a fall out of the inter-tribal skirmishes between the Igede people of Ukpute and Shangev Tiev People of Bonta could have been resolved amicably through dialogue.
“The senator wonders why the military burnt down other Tiv villages in Shangev Tiev outside the crisis zone. Also worrisome is the nefarious attacks on Ullam, Mbaiase communities in Gwer – West LGA which are very far away from Igede land. This has compelled many people to suspect that the attack is premeditated to terrorize, destabilise and depopulate the affected Tiv communities.
“In a petition sent to the defence headquarters, Abuja, Senator Suswam has called for a probe of the military invasion of the communities with a view to unraveling the circumstances that led to the unwarranted use of helicopter gunship on unarmed civilians.
“Suswam has appealed to the affected communities which include Tse-Amile, Gbinde, Bonta and the communities along Oju road to remain calm as Governor Samuel Ortom and he are working towards bringing peace and justice to them,” the release stated.