Jos - The Special Task Force (STF), maintaining the peace in Plateau killed "more than 100" of the bandits that attacked Lantang villages last week, according to its Commander, Brig. Gen. Henry Ayoola.
"The latest figure of the attackers that fell to our fire works in the counter gun duel is more than 100. We really devastated them because we circled them up from various angles. They have never been so hit.
"STF troops deployed to Magama had first engaged them before they were later supported by additional troops that came from Shndam,’’ Ayoola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Wednesday.
Other villages hit by the attackers included Bolgong and Karkashi.
Ayoola said that two of the attackers were injured and had been arrested and handed over to the State Security Services.
He said that many of the corpses had disappeared because the assailants were always quick to evacuate their dead ones.
"We found that most of the attackers were not even Nigerians; also, many of them wore talismans and all manners of things over their bodies,’’ he added.
Ayoola wondered what had happened to some Nigerians’ sense of patriotism if they could bring fighters from outside the nation to kill their fellow compatriots.
The Commander, however, disputed reports attributed to a politician, which claimed that 70 villagers had been killed by the invaders.
"The official is not in a position to confirm the number of casualties. You remember the council chairman had said that 32 people were confirmed killed. You also remember that we confirmed that only 20 villagers were killed.
"After the weekend, there has not been any any new attack so where is the additional number of casualties coming from?’’ he asked.
Ayoola expressed satisfaction that calm had returned to the area, and declared that all other alarms were false as the STF men were on ground to tackle any situation.
On the contrasting figure of casualties between the Plateau Police Command and the STF, Ayoola expressed surprise that the police was releasing casualty figures in a crisis that was not a police issue.
"The Langtang violence was not a police issue. The Plateau police command was not involved in the counter operation.
"The STF, you should remember, was specially established to tackle the Plateau violence because it was beyond the scope of the conventional security agencies in the state.
"It (STF) is not a statutory body. It is a circumstantial creation to take care of a particular situation, so it is the only body involved in the operations and should be the only source for confirming the real situation on ground,’’ he said.
Ayoola, however cautioned against the persistent rustling of cows, and vowed to deal with anyone caught in that act.