Herdsmen Attack, Cult Clash Claim 13 In Benue

By John Charles

It was a black Sunday in Benue State as no fewer than 13 persons were killed and many injured in separate crises that rocked two local government areas of the state.

Our correspondent gathered that while herdsmen launched a fresh attack on the Kwande Local Government Area, a group of suspected cultists held sway in the Otukpo Local Government Area.

herdsmen 09Our correspondent gathered from residents of Kwande that some Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Sunday invaded Tseadough, a village in Mbachom, Yaav Ward of the Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State and killed seven people.

The herdsmen were also said to have injured six others and took a woman from the village captive and burnt down several houses in the area.

A resident, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said, “Suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded our village in the wee hours of today, (Sunday) while people were asleep; it was their gunshots that woke some of us.

“They were shooting indiscriminately and entering peoples’ houses attacking them. I was able to escape through the grace of God, some of us had to sleep in the bush, the report I got is that 10 people were killed and many others sustained varying degrees of injuries,” the source who did not want to be named, said.

However, the Chairman, Kwande Local Government, Terdoo Nyor Kenti, confirmed the attack but said seven people were confirmed dead.

He said, “The armed militia stormed the village at about midnight while the people were asleep and opened fire and shot in all directions. Seven people were killed, six others were injured while the herdsmen also went away with a woman after burning houses in the area.”

It was learnt that many fled the area and the surrounding villages in droves for fear of another invasion by the attackers.

The council boss, who said that there was no crisis between the villagers and the Fulani herdsmen wondered why the attackers struck.

In Otukpo, a clash among some suspected cultists left six people dead.

Our correspondent gathered that the cult groups on Sunday morning took over the town brandishing guns and cutlasses.

An eyewitness told our correspondent that eight people were killed at different places within the town but the council chairman said the casualty figure was six.

An eyewitness said, “Two of the victims were killed at a popular drug (marijuana)  joint known as Banana Island while another victim, who owned a barbershop on Akpa Street was shot dead outside his shop.”

The eyewitness added, “The  fourth person was killed along Uloko lane, while four others were killed at several locations, the killers went on a killing spree.”

Confirming the report to our correspondent on the telephone, the Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area, Mr. George Alli, said efforts were on to apprehend the perpetrators of the crime.

“We have confirmed the death of six persons this afternoon. I’m still expecting a clearer picture of this, because we are going to come with a special squad to go after them,” Alli said.

The chairman, who stated that the killers immediately went into hiding declined to comment further on the matter as he said it bordered on the security of the local government area.

Efforts to get the state Police Command to speak on the two incidents failed as calls put to the mobile lines of the Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, and the command spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu, were neither answered nor returned.

Messages also sent to their phones were not replied as of the time of filing this report.

However, members of the Opiatoha  K’Idoma condemned the killings in Otukpo and called on security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators.

In a statement by the Secretary-General of the socio-cultural group, Adoka Adaji, the group said, “Members of Opiatoha K’Idoma condemn the renewal of cult related activities in Otukpo which resulted in the death of people. We call on security operatives to ruthlessly deal with the situation and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Source: Punchng.com

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