Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Ten Persons have been reportedly killed and many others injured after suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked Gbeji community and Channel 1, Tswaregh Council Ward of Ukum and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State on Tuesday.
Daily Sun gathered that seven persons, including Mtserkyaa lgbugh, Kananfa Amarfu, Tyavyar Akau, Orfega Hiikyaa, Kanyitor Uor and a 75-year-old whose identity is yet to be ascertained, were killed in Gbeji, while three others whose names were given as Tor Imbor, Aondowua Mnyor and Msugh Ajura were killed in Channel 1, Tswaregh.
The herdsmen who reportedly invaded the two communities between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. launched the attack almost simultaneously on the two local government areas, burning houses in the process.
The attackers stormed the community as residents were returning from their farms, the raid lasting for more than three hours, according to Gbeji locals Abraham Ngyenev and Mattias Azawe, who spoke with newsmen.
Sources from Logo, including Terkimbir Hemen and Jacob lorkyaa, said the attackers came in at about 7 p.m., sacking the villages one after another and shooting sporadically into the air, killing and burning houses without any intervention from authorities.
Hemen said following the attack, thousands of the villagers, particularly women and children, have continued to flee the affected communities to safer havens.
Ukum council chairman, Iberlogo Tortyokyaa, as well as his counterpart in Logo, Richard Nyajo, confirming the attack, lamented the wanton killing of innocent people in the area and called on Federal Government to live up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens.
Confirming the report, Benue State Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni said four bodies have been recovered from the affected local governments.
He said investigations have commenced into the incidents, noting that security had been beefed up in the affected area to maintain peace, law and order.
“There was an incidence in Gbeji and we are investigating it. There is said to be an attack by suspected herdsmen in the area, but we can confirm that as at this morning four dead bodies were recovered there. We have stepped up security in the area and we are investigating,” Commissioner Owoseni said.
For his part, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has described the sustained herdsmen attacks on Benue communities as an extension of the terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram.
Speaking on Tuesday in Makurdi, while reacting to renewed attacks on some communities in the middle belt Nigerian state, the Governor said the manner in which the armed men carried out their attacks and slaughter innocent people was not different from the modus operandi of terror group Boko Haram in the northeast.
“They come with sophisticated weapons and kill people, matchet them and chase the locals away. In some cases, they do not have the herds. They just come with their weapons, kill and chase the people out and take over the land and that is the worrisome part of it,” Governor Ortom lamented.
He condemned the recent attacks by the armed herdsmen on Gwer West, Logo and Ukum Local Government Areas of the state which left many people dead and property worth millions destroyed, stressing that the agenda of the attackers was beyond grazing.
“The trend of attacks on Benue is beyond mere grazing of livestock,” Ortom said.
“If the invaders were only interested in grazing, the massive destruction of lives and property would not have been their priority,” he added.
The Governor called on the Federal Government to ensure a greater security presence in parts of the state known to be flashpoints in order to avoid further loss of lives and the worsening humanitarian crisis, which had left over 170,000 internally displaced persons in various camps across the state.