The Army has arrested nine members of a Civilian Joint Task Force in Takum, Taraba State in possession of five AK 47 rifles.
Spokesperson of the 13 Brigade, Capt. Kayode Owolabi, stated this in a statement yesterday in Calabar.
According to Capt. Owolabi, the suspects were arrested by troops of 93 Battalion deployed in Arufu, a border town between Taraba and Benue states.
“Troops from the 93 Battalion on Monday Jan. 8 disarmed and arrested nine members of an armed militia known as civilian 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.
“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.
Capt. Owolabi said the suspects were helping the Army in its investigation before they would be handed over to the police for prosecution.
He said that Brigade Commander Brig.-Gen. Ismaila Isa, had warned that no criminal under any guise would be spared.
But the Benue State Government in a statement said: “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.’’