Benue Killings Surge After Air Force Jet Killed About 50 Herders in January

In coordinated, separate attacks, gun-wielding terrorists suspected to be herdsmen raided two local councils – Apa and Gwer West Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Benue State, killing nine persons, last weekend.

This made it the sixth unending killings [according to news reports] since an Air Force jet strike about 50 herders to death on January 25 at Doma community, a town bordering Benue and Nasarawa states.

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In what seems like reprisal, the attacks on Benue communities have gone from bad to worse since the January attack.

TIMELINE OF THE ATTACKS

Following the January 25 attack, no fewer than 13 locals were killed on February 26 in three communities — Tse-Lgar, Tse-Magu and Tse-Dudu — under Guma local council.

A few days later, gun-wielding men attacked Tse Fela in Mbabuande and Tse Akyegh in Ikaaghev council wards in the Gwer West Local Government Area, killing at least 15 people.

Within the same period, farming communities in Kwande Local Government Area raised alarm that over 50 farmers had been killed by marauding herdsmen.

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The communities wrote an open letter [to President Muhammadu Buhari] titled: ‘Terror Attacks on Farming Communities, Including Women and Children in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State’ and urged the president to deploy more security officers to the areas.

In a weekend coordinated attack, marauders invaded three communities in Agatu LGA, killing six locals.

Five people including a Catechist were reportedly killed in the two separate attacks in Guma while one person was murdered in Agatu community.

On April 26, the terrorists besieged Opaha, Odogbo and Edikwu communities in Apa Local Government Area, killing 10 people. This was after three locals were killed on April, 6 in Enetekpa village of Otukpo local council. On March 8, 44 locals were reportedly killed in Nyiev of Guma local council.

THE RECENT ATTACK

Six people, The Punch reports, were killed in the Uchen community in Gwer West LGA while three people were said to have died in Apa LGA.

The National Chairman of the Apa Development Association, Eche Akpoko, said three villages were attacked on Friday and Saturday by suspected herdsmen who invaded Akpanta, Ochumeko and Ijaha villages.

“Akpanta and Ogwuji villages were burnt down and the attackers killed three people at Ijaha village,” he said.

Speaking of the attack on Ucheen community, the traditional ruler of Makurdi, Vincent Aule, said that the herders killed six persons in the village, adding that a family member of the deceased fell and died on seeing his relatives’ dead bodies.

His words: “It happened at Ucheen village, after Adaka, a border community in Makurdi. They came around 2:30 am on Monday and killed about six people.

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“They killed one woman, her husband and their child. They were sleeping when they came and killed three of them.

“Then they also killed three other persons. A man, who came that morning and saw them lying on the ground, slumped. They took him to the hospital but he later died.

The monarch who said he visited the area on Tuesday morning, in the company of the police, described the attack as a pathetic sight.

“There was no issue with these people (herders) but they have been coming there to attack the people. We have reported to the Commissioner of Police and the Security Adviser,” Aule said.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene confirmed the attack in the Ucheen community, saying five people were killed.

She said policemen have been deployed to the area and the bodies of the slain souls had been deposited at a morgue in Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. According to her, the incident is being investigated.

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