Gunmen have reportedly asked troops of the Nigerian army to vacate their post around a village in Miango, Bassa LGA, Plateau state.
A company of soldiers was recently deployed to the area, following reported attacks on the villagers by gunmen.
The troops, working under the army’s operation Safe Haven (OPSH), had in the past two months stopped the attackers from invading the villagers.
Insiders knowledgeable about the operation told TheCable that the attackers had written to the villages, asking them to inform the troops to leave their location as they planned to attack the community.
“We strategically put our troops in a border area between the village and the mountains from which their attackers come from,” one of the sources said.
“Many times, they have tried to jump on the village but they were stopped by the troops in heavy crossfires. In the past one month, we’ve had gunfights with them and lost two of our soldiers.
“Just a few days ago, the villagers brought a note from the attackers, asking the troops to leave that location so that they could attack. In fact, they threatened that if our soldiers didn’t leave, they would be the first to be attacked.”
Military sources said the development had already been communicated to the operation’s headquarters.
Newsmen understands that part of what was sought from the headquarters is a reinforcement to avoid a situation where troops are overwhelmed when the attackers strike.
‘WE TRIED BROKERING PEACE THROUGH DIALOGUE’
Some army commanders in the area were said to have earlier attempted to broker peace between the attackers and the villagers, TheCable was informed.
One of the leaders of the attackers, sources said, was invited for a dialogue when some farmers were killed on their farmlands.
“Because they can’t enter into the village and launch an attack, as soldiers won’t allow them, they now wait for some farmers to enter their farmland and from there they go to attack them,” a source explained.
“It could be difficult to ask soldiers to now follow each villager to the farm, so we thought we could broker peace through dialogue with those guys.
“We made a call through, and an agreement was reached that they won’t attack the villagers again. Then at least, we had about three weeks gone and there was no attack on any farmer.
“It was shocking to see their latest threat, but our troops are on standby and we won’t allow them to take over that village.”
Onyema Nwachukwu, the army spokesperson, was not immediately available to comment on the development.