42 killed, many abducted as bandits attack Benue communities
No fewer than 42 persons were reportedly killed in separate attacks in two local councils of Benue State in the past two days.
The Guardian gathered that the attacks took place in Katsina Ala and Gwer West local councils of the state.
Residents in the affected communities of Shikaan, Mbagena and Kpav, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attackers suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded their communities in the early hours of Thursday and started killing people.
According to them, by the time the dust settled, about 36 dead bodies were evacuated.
However, a military source told newsmen that 19 people were actually killed in Katsina Ala local council and attributed the act to local bandits.
According to the military source, “it is true that 19 people were killed in some villages in Katsina Ala local council yesterday (Thursday) but it was carried out by local bandits in the area.”
In Gwer-West local council, it was gathered that six people were reportedly killed while several others were abducted along Naka/Makurdi road yesterday (Friday).
Confirming the attack and killings, the chairman of the local council, Mrs. Grace Igbabon, said some suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked a community close to Makurdi and killed five people while many others were abducted.
“Some suspected Fulani invaded Tinader on the way to Makurdi and attacked villagers and travellers. We were holding a stakeholders’ meeting yesterday between 4 and 5pm when people from Tinader village called me that there was attack on their village. They said five people were killed.
“I later gathered that the attackers waylaid passengers on the Naka/Makurdi highway and kidnapped some people, including a woman and her child. Up till now, their whereabouts are unknown,” she said.
The chairman also confirmed that there was an exchange of gunfire between Fulani herdsmen and villagers at Mbakpa village yesterday morning.
“Even this morning at Mbakpa village, there was exchange of fire between Fulani and the villagers. One person was reportedly killed,” she said, adding that she had reported the incident to security operatives.
When contacted, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, confirmed the attack on Gwer West, saying five people were killed.
She, however, said she was yet to get the report of the incident in Katsina Ala local council.