Armed herdsmen have attacked Benue communities, killing at least 20 people, Gov. Samuel Ortom has said.
The raid was carried out on Monday, March 20. A community leader, Chief Udam Wuhe, said more than 10 gunmen stormed the town from TorTonda- Zaki Biam road at about 5:00pm.
According to him, the residents counted not fewer than 20 dead bodies with several others injured and many houses razed.
Daily Post reports that Wuhe could not ascertain if the attackers were Fulani herdsmen. The incident is coming barely one week after suspected herdsmen killed over 10 person in Buruku area of the state, which led to the governor, Samuel Ortom issuing them 72 hours ultimatum to vacate the area.
The state Police Public Relation Officer, Moses Yamu, who confirmed the killing, however, said the casualty figure has not been ascertained. “We are yet to ascertain the number of those killed in the attack. Our men are already on ground there to restore normalcy to the area,” he said. Below are more photos from the raid.
N/B: Most of the photos are “Graphic”, viewers’ discretion is advised.
This day reports that most of those killed were said to be traders and businessmen. According to an eyewitness, “the gunmen stormed the yam market on about 12 Bajaj motorcycles and four Toyota Corolla cars and started shooting at anyone in sight.” Several cars and a fuel station were also razed as pandemonium engulfed the area. The eyewitness described the incident as a bloodbath. When contacted, the state commissioner of police, Bashir Makama, confirmed the killings but stated that the police were yet to ascertain the exact number of casualties.
security situation in state and measures taken by his government to bring an end to the invasion and attacks by herdsmen on innocent people of the state.
He stated that his decision to expel Fulani herdsmen in the affected areas of the state was to pave the way for Tiv farmers to continue their farming activities.
Ortom insisted that it was impossible for herdsmen and farmers to operate in harmony, pointing out that his administration would not fold its arms and allow people fall prey to foreigners and killers and it was his government’s responsibility to ensure security for the people.
The governor further cautioned against confrontations as the herdsmen make their way out of the state, adding that the security operatives would ensure they move out safely to where they came from. Also speaking with the residents, the state police commissioner, on behalf of other security agencies, called for caution among youths and urged them to restrain themselves from resorting to violence at the slightest provocation but to remain patient. Makama promised that the security agencies would not relent in the discharge of their duties.