THERE has been increased security at the Nigerian Air Force Tactical Air Command, Makurdi, Benue State, following intelligence report that insurgents are planning to attack the base.
Our correspondent learnt on Thursday that the authorities of the NAF had instructed the personnel to be on the alert to prevent any attack on the base.
The authorities were said to have received the Boko Haram threat shortly after a clash between some Fulani herdsmen and the Tiv people in a community at the back of the Air Force Base, along Gboko Road, Makurdi on Wednesday.
It was learnt that aggrieved Tiv people, who lost family members in the ongoing clash between herdsmen and farmers went to a temporary camp of some displaced Fulani and told them to vacate the place.
It was learnt that the Air Force authorities did not want a repeat of what happened on December 2, 2013 when members of Boko Haram launched an early morning attack on the Composite Group Air Force Base, Maiduguri, where the insurgents succeeded in destroying five aircraft.
The attack affected two helicopters with transparent floor, which were crucial to the aerial surveillance activities of the Special Forces, especially along the long Maiduguri-Potiskum-Damaturu-Bauchi Road and three MIG fighter jets.
The military authorities had said that the fighter jets were unserviceable and were awaiting evacuation to the archives.
The heightened security at the Makurdi Air Force Base is taking place even as the Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State, Mr. Cletus Akwaya, said that the attacks by the Fulani herdsmen on Benue communities had continued in spite of the heavy presence of security personnel in the area.
Akwaya said that most of the confrontation with the invading bands of Fulani herdsmen had been by the police.
The governor’s aide said in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday that the Fulani herdsmen had been attacking Tiv communities on a daily basis.
He recalled that the insurgents burnt down the Gbajimba Headquarters of the Guma Local Government Area of the state, where 60 persons allegedly lost their lives on Monday.
He added that 16 people were also killed in Agina, in the Gwei East Local Government Area.
When our correspondent contacted the Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, he said he was not aware of the development at the Tactical Air Command, Makurdi, and he referred our correspondent to the Director, Air Force Information, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas.
Anas also said that he was not aware of the alleged plan by the insurgents to attack the Air Force Base.
However, Anas said that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, had directed that the platforms of the Air Force were released for air surveillance activities in the Benue axis.
He said, “I am not aware of such a threat, but already, the Air Force has made available its platform for use for surveillance in the area.
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