Eyewitnesses Describe How Herdsmen Kill 18 In Benue
An eyewitness has described to the Daily Times how marauders besieged a community in Bebue state late on Sunday, shooting freely and burning houses, huts and farmland.
The source said that the problems started days ago, but that on Sunday the villagers were caught unawares. They were woken by the sound of gunshots and heavy movement around the village by herdsmen.
The witness said that those who tried to escape with their families were tracked down and attacked by the marauders.
The source said that peace efforts by the people of the area proved fruitless as the herdsmen keep trooping into the area with sophisticated weapons.
A mother of six, whose husband was shot dead, Kuhile Adaaku, told the Daily Times: ‘’The situation at the moment is tense. Many have been rendered homeless while a large number are helplessly taking refuge at Ugba the local government headquarters and other villages’’.
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Sunday's attack forced Gabriel Suswam, governor of the state, to pay an unscheduled visit to the area in a bid to check an escalation of the crisis.
Deputy Superintendent John Bako, the police public relations officer, told the Daily Times that he was yet to be fully briefed on the matter.
He reportedly added that the area had been witnessing skirmishes of late: “In the last two weeks, there have been skirmishes between herdsmen and the natives. But as I speak with you, we have deployed our men to the area to maintain peace and efforts are being made to talk to the feuding parties in order to stem the crisis.”
This is not the first attack by Fulani herdsmen on Benue as two weeks ago herdsmen crossed from Loko in Nasarawa State to Agatu in Benue State killing eight people in Abugbe, two in Okoklo, four from Ogwule, one in Ocholoyan and two in other villages.