Herders invade Benue community, kill three

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Suspected herdsmen have reportedly killed three people and several others injured after they invaded Naka, the headquarters of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State on Tuesday night.

The development which occured less than 24 hours after a Deeper Life pastor and three others were reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen has also left several other locals missing.

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According to sources from the area, herdsmen camouflaged in military uniforms stormed the area and started shooting sporadically in all directions while residents scampered for safety.

One of our sources who did not want to be named said by the time the dust settled, three persons including an octogenarian were found dead in the pool of their one blood.

It was further gathered that the octogenarian’s tongue and other parts were removed by the invading herders.

Paramount ruler of the community, Ter Nagi, HRH Daniel Abomtse who confirmed the invasion of his domain by herdsmen condemned the incessant attacks on his area as sad and unwarranted.

Ter Nagi who spoke to newsmen by telephone said the herders avoided the area where the military was stationed and took another portion of the Nagi settlement area and burst at a suburb of Naka called Goh.

‘Then they maintained a bush path known as Anyim road and parked their motorcycles within 200 metres from the town because I went and searched everything myself and they started opening fire on the part of Naka known as Gbankeke where the local government secretariat is located.

“Immediately, they blocked the Adawa road which is linked to Mbabwaande district to Naka and immediately stopped a young man, identified as Tersoo Yasough conveying a lady on a motorcycle. They shot him from the umbilical cord and the bullets pierced the back and he died. A young girl whose name is Martha Ukange was also killed.

‘Thereafter, they moved towards the road linking Naka to Agagbe where they stopped and slaughtered an octogenarian, whose name is Ahemba Apeale, and removed his tongue and other sensitive parts of the body.

‘After that, they fled the area back to Nasarawa State where they came from. So they killed three people, others are still missing and we are still searching,’ the monarch said.

Also commenting on the matter, the chairman of the local government, Mrs Grace Igbabon also confirmed the killing insisted that it was Fulani herdsmen who invaded her council area.

‘Some armed Fulani men came in military camouflage riding on motorcycles and attacked a suburb of Naka town. They came in the evening on Tuesday. There were heavy gunshots and people were running helter-skelter to save their lives.

‘Three people were killed in the process including two elderly men and a young lady.

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When contacted, the state Command spokesperson, SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the attack which she said happened at about 2005 hrs.

‘On 29/03/2022 at about 2005hrs, armed men invaded Agabge-Naka road, Gwer-west LGA and started shooting sporadically. In the process, two persons were confirmed dead and corpses were deposited at Fr Mathias Morgue while the investigation is ongoing.

‘Members of the public are advised to cooperate with detectives deployed to unravel the case. This barbaric act is condemned and unacceptable. The command, in collaboration with other security agencies, has adjusted the security architecture in the area to prevent future recurrence,’ Anene said.

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Samuel Ortom has expressed grief over the sustained invasion and killing of Benue people by Fulani herdsmen.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, decried the recent killings by herdsmen in the state in which he noted that scores of Benue people have been hacked to death in unprovoked attacks.

He called on Benue communities to rise up and defend themselves.

‘There were coordinated attacks on Guma, Kwande and Gwer West Local Government Areas of the state on Tuesday, March 29.

‘A report from the team leader of security agencies in Kasekyo near Tse Torkula village in Guma local government said that suspected Fulani herders at about 0930 hours on Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 shot one Turner Ajar and an unidentified elderly man who were on a motorcycle going to the farm.

‘The team of Agro Rangers who were on patrol in the area ran into the attack, unfortunately, the victims had already been killed. Their corpses were taken and deposited at a hospital in Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area of the state.

‘In Kpankeeke, a suburb on the outskirts of Naka, headquarters of Gwer West local government, gory images of persons killed by another set of herdsmen littered the streets.

The Agro Rangers team were alerted and they moved to the location alongside the Army and Police. The patrol team found the body of one Ahemba Apeelu, an aged man at a sawmill from Saav/Ukusu council Ward who was slaughtered and his throat slit.

‘Others identified to have been killed by the invaders include Tersoo Yasough and a young lady known as Martha Ukange. Another body of a young man yet to be identified was later sighted along the road. Another body yet to be identified was recovered too.

‘The search for more persons who are said to be missing is ongoing in affected communities,’ the statement concluded.

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