12 slain soldiers: Ortom condoles with Buhari, apologises to families of deceased

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff over the death of 12 military personnel killed at Bonta community of the state, on Easter Monday.

In his oration, the governor also apologised to families of the slain soldiers for saying that only two soldiers were missing in the heat of the crisis.

The governor said that he made the statement based on information made available to him.

It will be recalled that 12 soldiers among them a Captain were killed at Bonta community in Konshisha Local Government Area of the state last Monday.

Governor Ortom who was at the burial of the slain soldiers at the military cemetery at Wurukum in Makurdi, the capital city of Benue pledged that his government would collaborate with security agencies to ensure that all the perpetrators of the act were apprehended and brought to book.

He regretted that the soldiers had to die in the hands of the militias while trying to maintain peace in the troubled areas in the state.

According to Ortom, “I condole Mr President who is the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, the Chief of Army Staff and indeed the leadership of our security forces in the country.

“On behalf of government and people of Benue State, we condemn the killing of our innocent soldiers who were out there to keep peace in our state.

“It is unfortunate that this incident took place. I want the Nigerian army, the families of the deceased and indeed all Nigerians to know that the attack on security personnel is an attack on all.

“This attack was unwarranted, it was not needed because all these patriotic soldiers were there to keep peace and that was why they were ambushed. Otherwise, we all know what soldiers can do and the capacity they have to defend themselves.

“So we condemn this and we want to assure everyone that my government will join hands with the security forces to ensure that all those who perpetrated this sad act are brought to book.

“I equally want to apologise to the bereaved families, in the course of my trying to manage this challenge. If I said anything that was offensive to the families of the deceased I want to say that I am sorry.

“As a leader, I needed to say something, the people needed to hear from, and as at that time that I made the comment that it was two soldiers that were missing it was based on the information that was made available to me.

“But all the same, please I am sorry. It is the responsibility of this government to also join hands with the leadership of the army to see how we can support the bereaved families. May God reset their peaceful souls.”

Present at the burial were Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, the Commanding Officer, 72 Battalion, military personnel as well as family members of the deceased soldiers.

The funeral service was conducted by Chaplain of 73 Battalion, Major Ibrahim Mavisky and Imam, Captain AA Bashir, the duo concurred that there was time for everything under the sun, “time to be born and time to die, we brought nothing to this world and we shall surely leave with nothing.”

They noted that the fallen heroes were peacemakers who went out not for evil but for peace and regrettably met their death in the process.

“These people died innocently and without any offence. It is the promise of God that each of us has a stipulated time to go. We will all go back to God someday and explain how we live our lives. God will console the entire Nigerian Army and the immediate families they left behind.

“The slain soldiers were out to serve the nation but were cut short. We, therefore, pray for their souls and that God should grant them eternal rest,” they said.

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