ABUJA, April 8 (Reuters) – One army officer and 10 soldierswere killed in Nigeria’s Benue state in what a spokesman saidwas an unprovoked attack on Thursday. The army said in a statement that it would “fish out anddeal decisively with these bad elements.”Civilians, in fear of soldiers looking to root out theperpetrators, were fleeing the Konshisha local government whereone local leader’s house had been burnt to the ground, sourcestold Reuters. The violence in the restive Middle Belt region marked thelatest bout of instability in Nigeria, Africa’s most-populousnation. On Monday, heavily armed gunman freed more than 1,800prisoners in the southeast, while armed gangs have kidnappedhundreds of school children in the northwest in recent monthsand Islamist militants in the northeast have waged a decade-longinsurgency. Troops patrol in the Middle Belt due in part to clashesbetween farmers and nomadic cattle herders that have killedthousands and displaced half a million over the past decade,according to estimates from French medical charity Medecins SansFrontieres.Army spokesman Mohammed Yerima said the troops wereinitially declared missing while on a routine operational task,but a search-and-rescue team later found the bodies. “Efforts are ongoing to track down the perpetrators of thisheinous crime with a view to bringing them to justice,” Yerimasaid in a statement. Yerima did not immediately reply to further queries aboutthe attack.
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