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 reports that seven persons, including Mtserkyaa lgbugh, Kananfa Amarfu, Tyavyar Akau, Orfega Hiikyaa, Kanyitor Uor and a passer-by who should be about 75 years old whose identity was 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 stormed the two communities between 6pm and 9pm, launched the attacks almost simultaneously on the two local government areas, where they also razed houses.
Two locals from Gbeji, Abraham Ngyenev and Mathias Azawe, told newsmen that the attackers stormed the community when the people were returning from their farms and the attack lasted more than three hours.
Sources from Logo, including Terkimbir Hemen and Jacob lorkyaa, said the attackers came at about 7pm, ransacked the villages one after another and shot in the air, as they killed and burned houses without any intervention by security agents.
Hemen said, following the attack, thousands of villagers, especially 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, who confirmed the attack, lamented the wanton killing of innocent people in the area and called on the federal government to live up to its responsibility of protecting life and property of Nigerian citizens.
Confirming the report, Benue State police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, said four bodies have been recovered from the affected local governments.
He said investigation has commenced into the incidents noting that security has been beefed up in the affected area to maintain peace, law and order.
“There was an incident in Gbeji and we are investigating it. There was 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,” Owoseni said.
On his part, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the sustained herdsmen’s 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 state, the governor noted that the manner in which the gunmen carried out their attacks and slaughtered innocent people was not different from the modus operandi of Boko Haram in the Noth East.
“They come with sophisticated weapons and kill people, matchet them and chase the locals away. 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 and that is the worrisome part of it,” the governor lamented.
He condemned recent attacks by the armed herdsmen on Gwer West, Logo and Ukum, 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. If the invaders were only interested in grazing, the massive destruction of life and property would not have been their priority,” he said.
Ortom called on the federal government to ensure greater security in parts of the state known to be flashpoints, to avoid further loss of life and worsening humanitarian crisis, which has so far left over 170,000 internally displaced persons in various camps across the state.