The Benue State government says its Community Volunteer Guards have arrested five suspected foreign fighters known as Amazonian fighters. It said the suspects who confessed to having links with Islamic terrorists, Boko Haram were between 25 and 40 years old. The Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Security, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (retd.), who disclosed the arrest in a statement on Wednesday obtained by our correspondent, said the suspects were arrested on Monday afternoon at Jato Aka roundabout near a drinking joint.
Lt. Col. Paul Hemba gave the names of the suspects as Stanley Vincent, Ojong David, Njeke Ronado, Ngum Emmanuel and Obem Samuel. The security adviser said one of the suspects, Stanley, when questioned, lied that he was a soldier with the Nigerian Army, serving at Ojo, Lagos State.
The suspect claimed that he was assigned by his boss to escort them to Cameroon. “However, his identity card was not found on him, a development that triggered suspicion on those suspects,” Lt. Col. Paul Hemba said.
He stated that, “On August 22, 2022, at 3 pm, at Jato Aka Roundabout, near Dzoho Aondofa Drinking Joint in Kwande Local Government Area, the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards arrested five Amazonian Fighters suspected to have had links with not only Boko Haram, but also Amazonians fighting the Republic of Cameroon for years.
“Further checks revealed that chemical weapons which carry a label ‘DANGER’, Military Uniform, charms, and undisclosable number of ammunition were found on the Ambazonians who further disclosed to have stayed at Agogo Hotel, Jato Aka, for a period of six months uninterruptedly, a hotel owned by one Dooorun Agogo.”
He however noted that the suspects had been handed over to the police. The security adviser said the suspects might be responsible for armed robbery and kidnapping incidents that have occurred in the council area in the last six months.
It had earlier been reported that Benue State has been a hotbed of insecurity occasioned by attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen on local communities. Several hundreds of people have been killed including Catholic priests during attacks on worship centers.
Disturbed by the failure of the security agencies to protect the people of the state from the marauding herders, Governor Samuel Ortom on August 4, 2022 unveiled a community volunteer guards outfit.
The security outfit, the governor said, was established to address community security and safety. He denied allegations that the volunteer guards were established for political purposes ahead of the 2023 general elections.