The name Terwase Akwaza may not be familiar to most Nigerians especially from Benue State but once his alias of Gana is mentioned, it sends shivers down the spine of many who remember the carnage that he allegedly wrought with his militia group who according to some observers in Benue State started out as part of the Agro rangers set up to enforce the ban on open grazing in the State.
The arrangement turned sour with daily death toll from Fulani herdsmen attacks on the Agrarian Agatu community in Benue State reading like one from a low intensity insurgency, this prompted many in the State to call for action with President Muhammadu Buhari directing the military and all security agencies to clampdown on all militia groups behind the attacks.
While the President opted for a direct and headlong confrontation with the militia groups, many also called for caution citing past misuse of force by the security forces as an example of why the president must thread softly.
It later emerged that most attacks by Fulani herdsmen were retaliatory while others were carried out by the militia led by Gana disguised as Fulani herdsmen.
Following the carnage culminating in peace talks by some activists to stop the killings in late 2016 in Abuja between Agatu and Fulani youth organisations, there was a lull in the killings.
But this were short-lived as the killings started again. With the activities of politicians it became politicised but the government under Samuel Ortom remained undaunted and as part of efforts aimed at addressing and putting a stop to the killings, an amnesty programme was put in place which the militia groups keyed into including the late Gana.
He later reneged on his participation in the amnesty programme with his militia group returning to its old ways of unprovoked attacks and killings, the police and the military subsequently declared him wanted in 2017.
He became a man with a big target mark on him and had been on the run for the last 3 years until he met his waterloo at the hands of Army Special Forces acting on actionable intelligence according to the commander of the 4 special forces command Doma Nasarawa State, Major General Moundhey Gadzama Ali.
UPDATED: Military confirms killing of wanted notorious militia leader, Terwase Akwaza. pic.twitter.com/vPnGL9AGIUAdvertisement
— TVC News (@tvcnewsng) September 8, 2020
He and his group were intercepted around the Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road and engaged the military in a fire fight which led to his death and the arrest of 40 of his members who were travelling in a convoy.
Several weapons were also recovered from them.
Though the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom later expressed his surprise over the circumstances that Gana was killed.
The killing of the dreaded militia leader is the culmination of a 3 year hunt by both the State and federal authorities.
And as former American president, Barack Obama said after the daring covert operation that killed late founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, he will never walk the face of the earth again to hurt, maim or make peoples lives unbearable to live again.