There have been reactions over the military troops attached to Awajir In Konshisha local government area of Benue State for the taking over and the occupation of a Catholic Church for a military operational base. The military troops were sent to the affected area to quell the communal crisis between the Bonta community of Ishangev-Tiev of Konshisha LGA and the Ainu community of Oju local government area of the state.
Many interest groups in the state have accused the military troops of taking over the church temple belonging to a Catholic Church for their military operation. One of such groups is, the Tiv Professionals Group (TPG) who accused the men of Operation Whirl Stroke of illegally taking over St. Lucy Catholic Church, Awajir, in Benue State for their operational base.
The Nation Newspapers reported that the troops are occupying the area in search of the missing 11 soldiers who were allegedly killed by the local militias. The military authority has accused the Bonta community of using bandits to unleash mayhem on troops who were in the area to maintain peace and order where 11 of them were allegedly killed.
The Leader of the TPG, Professor Zacharys Gundu, told Journalists in Makurdi that the act of forcefully taken over the church building without the expressed permission of the owners is tantamount to sacrilege and total desecration of the temple of God. The group maintained that the military has their tradition of erecting camps whenever they are on a spot assignment in an area, but converting a place of worship for an operational camp is an assault on the Christian faith. The group wonders where on earth the military converts a worship centre to an operation based.
The group, therefore, called for the immediate vacation of the church building by the troops as churches are not meant for operational camps but worship centres. According to the group, there are several public places that the military could use as a base and certainly not a worship centre.
Prof Gundu lamented with the Nation Newspaper reporter that why should troop occupy the church and conduct Islamic prayers while the true faithful is forcefully sent away without a place of worship, that this is unacceptable and condemnable.
The group also condemned the invasion and occupation of the area with heavily armed men and military gunship as if they are intervening in an international cross border war.
Gundu, therefore, called for the removal of the Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Major – General Adeyemi Yekini for the show of open biasness and unprofessionalism in the handling of the crisis.
What is your take on this, was the troops right in taking over a Catholic Church to an operational base?
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