Monarch, wife, nine others feared killed in fresh Kogi attacks
•Ortom seeks full military operation to flush out militias
•Benue IDPs’ camps record 120 births
The Onu Okewn-Agbenema in Omala council area of Kogi State, Musa Edibo, and his wife have been reportedly burnt by suspected herdsmen. Also, 100 homes were said to be torched by the attackers in Agbenema settlement.Moreover, nine others were allegedly hacked to death in the violent attacks that consumed four villages.A breakdown indicates that six lost their lives at Iyade village, two in Agbenema, two also at Aj’Ichekpa and another at Opada, all in Omala local council.
The administrator of the council area, Ibrahim Aboh, reportedly escaped death by the whiskers, just as the homes of a former council vice chairman and that of his father were also razed.The attacks come barely five days after about 30 persons were killed at Ogane-Enigu and Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi communities in Dekina and Bassa council areas. The Guardian gathered that the well-armed attackers laid ambush in the forest from where they invaded the villages and murdered their targets at will.
According to the natives, the herdsmen, after setting the houses ablaze, opened fire on fleeing inhabitants, slit their throats and cut off vital parts of the victims with machete.They alleged that the military presence of the troops drafted to contain the killers was hardly felt, as herders operated without any hindrance.
Their words: “We were surprised when we approached the soldiers who were stationed at the guest house in Abejukolo for assistance, they refused to act professionally as they used their vehicle to block us from advancing to the troubled spot to help our people.“It is clear that the aim of the herdsmen was to kill us and take over our ancestral homes. They have razed down Ojuwo-Ajomayeigbi, Iyade, Agbenema and Opada villages so that they could use our land for their cattle colonies.
“We want the world to come to our assistance before they exterminate us and inherit our land. We have lost confidence in the security agencies posted to us.“Right now, a coordinated war is raging simultaneously in most villages in Omala, Dekina and Bassa LGAs. Our people are being killed and houses burnt down, even as our women are being raped while many children who ran from the theatre of war are still missing.
“ Since the attacks began, we have ceased to go to the farms. Even the markets have closed. Hunger has come to stay on our soil. If drastic measures are not taken to quell this mad killings by these herdsmen, food insecurity will take over our land.”
A former majority leader in the State House of Assembly, Adamu Muhammed, confirmed the killings, adding that they had lost confidence in the security.Governor Yahaya Bello had at the weekend visited Oganenigu where over 25 persons were killed, several houses burnt and over 45 motorcycles and food items carted away by the invaders.
However, Governor Samuel Ortom has called on the military hierarchy to upgrade the ongoing Exercise Cat Race in Benue State to an operation that can flush out herdsmen so that farmers could return to their homes and continue with their livelihoods.During a visit yesterday to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abagena, Daudu, United Nations camp and LGEA Gbajimba camps in Makurdi and Guma council areas, he recalled that the Army had carried out successful operations in the East, South West and North East but wondered why Benue’s was an exercise.
He noted that what was happening in the state was similar to the North East debacle where Operation Lafiya Dole was put in place to tackle the Boko Haram menace.Ortom lamented that the herdsmen had sacked 50 communities and displaced over 170,000 persons, stressing that the camps were still witnessing influx of inmates.He, however, assured the IDPs that they would soon return home, as security agencies were working hard to restore peace.
The governor described the herdsmen as terrorists, as they are armed to the teeth.The assurances came amid a startling revelation by the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Emmanuel Shior, 120 births had recorded across the eight camps in the state.He, however, commended the state government for taking adequate care of the IDPs and sued for the continued support of public-spirited individuals as well as groups to enable the agency care always for the inmates.
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