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Gunmen, herdsmen kill nine, injure five in Benue, Adamawa


Benue State

Suspected gunmen have killed five persons and injured five others at Utonkon community in Ado Local Council of Benue State.

The Guardian learnt that apart from the five deaths, many others have also been declared missing as a result of the attack which took place when the council chairman was distributing Christmas gift items to politicians and other stakeholders in the area on Christmas Eve.

The Benue State Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Moses Yamu, who confirmed the attack, said three persons died and five others were seriously injured.

Yamu said the attack was carried out by yet-to-be-identified two gunmen who stormed the village on motorbikes, adding that an investigation into the matter had commenced and more policemen had been drafted to the area.

The Chairman of the council, Mrs. Blessing Unogwu, who condemned the incident, stated that the local government protocol officer and four other members of staff ran into them but escaped unhurt.

“The incident occurred at a time my protocol officer and four other persons were in the community with some goats sent to me by His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom, to distribute to stakeholders in the area. They were distributing the items when the armed men came on bikes and began to shoot sporadically,” he said.

Similarly, four people were killed and hundreds of houses razed by suspected Fulani herdsmen during Christmas celebrations in Kamale, Michika Local Council of Adamawa State.

The Adamawa State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Uthman Abubakar, said: “I learnt that something like that happened in Kamale town but I am still waiting for Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Michika Local Council to give me the details. When he gives me the details, I will contact you.”

In another development, the Kaduna State Government has called for calm while more military troops have been deployed in the troubled areas as attacks by gunmen spread in Southern Kaduna communities.

The media aide to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Samuel Arunwan, said: “The state government has been working with security agencies to deter escalation and reassures citizens of their safety.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said that the northern group “is saddened by the unfortunate attack on innocent villagers holding a Christmas Carol night at Nindem Village of Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.”

But the National President of Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), David Kadzai, described the Kamale killings as a calculated plan to eliminate or depopulate Christians in the country.

Kadzai, who accused some Christians in top government positions of keeping silent over the mass murder of Christians by Fulani herdsmen, said Christian youths would no longer tolerate further killing of Christians.

He said the Christian youths would be left with no other choice than to find a way of protecting Christians in Nigeria.

Besides, not less than three persons including policeman are feared dead in a communal clash between the Ojor and Uyannga communities in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River State.

According to an eyewitness from Uyanga who did not want to be mentioned, the incident occurred on Monday, when the Ojor people tried to pass through Uyanga with arms but were stopped by Uyanga community.

The State PPRO, ASP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident and the death of the policeman but said she had no report of any other death.

Ugbo said mobile policemen had been deployed in the area and calm had been restored.

Both communities seem to always be at each other’s neck, although they are neighbours and share a lot in common.

The last conflict which happened in June this year ended in the two communities losing lives and property.

Caught up in the clash between both communities was the Stella Maris Junior Seminary, a Catholic secondary school located along the boundary of both communities.

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