Herdsmen kills 15 people in fresh attacks in Benue
Suspected militant herdsmen Tuesday evening reportedly killed a 75-year-old man and 14 others in what appeared a sustained coordinated attack on communities in Logo and Ukum local government areas of Benue state.
Vanguard reports that the effected communities in the latest attacks includes Gbeji in Ukum local government area, Ukemberagya/Tswarev ward, Channel One community, Orveren and Ajura villages and Tombo community in Logo local government area of the state.
According to a former aide to the former Governor of Benue state who is from one of the affected communities, “it all started two days ago but Tuesday evening between 6pm to 9pm was when the fully armed herdsmen came down heavily on the affected communities.
“They went to Gbeji in Ukum local government area and had a free day.
They burnt down houses and killed about 8 people in the community and injured many.
“They did not stop at that after that operation, they came down to Ukemberagya/Tswarev ward in Logo local government area, at Channel One community of Tswarev clan and killed two people, burnt down houses and one motorcycle there.
“They came unchallenged from Tungwa in Nasarawa state to attack our communities and after the operation they usually pulled back
or retreat to where they came from.
“But before yesterday’s incident, in the last 72 hours we have been facing these attacks. Before yesterday they mounted a road block at about 2pm around an abandoned mobile barracks projects at Anyiin and killed somebody there.
“As I speak to you the Mobile Police at Anyiin in Logo local government area, just removed the corpse of the victim and deposited same at the NKST Hospital mortuary.
“This is apart from the attack on Tombu ward in the same local government where four people were also killed. These killing have been going on in the last 72 hours. It happens everyday.
“It is obvious from this development that the security personnel sent to the area are either insufficient or they have been overwhelmed.
“We appeal that more mobile police personnel be posted to our communities. We believe they are doing better because the soldiers posted to our place have not made any impact at all.
Among victims already identified in the attack were Mtserkyaa lgbugh, Kananfa Amarfu, Tyavyar Akau, Orfega Hiikyaa, Kanyitor Uor, and a 75-year-old whose identity was yet to be ascertained.
Confirming the latest attack, the Benue State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni said “There was an incidence in Gbeji and we are investigating.
“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.”
Reacting to the renewed attacks in the state, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom described herdsmen attacks on Benue communities as an extension of the terrorism being perpetrated by Boko Haram in the North East.
He said “the manner in which the armed herdsmen invade communities of the state and slaughter innocent people is not different from the mindless acts of Boko Haram in the North Eastern part of the country.
“They come with sophisticated weapons and kill people, matchet them and chase them away.
Governor Ortom said equally disturbing in the pattern of attacks by the armed militant herdsmen was their trademark of occupying communities after killing and sacking the inhabitants.
“In some cases, they do not have herds. They just come with their weapons, kill and chase the people out and take over the land, that is the worrisome part of it.
“The trend of attacks on Benue is beyond mere grazing of livestock, if the invaders were only interested in grazing, the massive destruction of lives and property would not have been their priority.
The Governor emphasized the need for greater security presence in parts of the state known to be flashpoints in order to avoid further loss of lives and worsening humanitarian crisis in the state with over 175,000 internally displaced persons in various camps across the state.