Heritage Reporter

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Gunmen attack Benue, Taraba communities

…15 killed, several others missing in Benue

 

…Gunmen in military uniforms, motorbikes, attack, kill three in Taraba

 

In Benue State, gunmen suspected to be armed herders on Wednesday attacked another community in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State killing several people.

 

The attack was the fourth in the past three weeks of the armed herders renewed attack on the council area.

Communities, such as Ogwumogbo, Ikpele, Okokolo and Ejima were previously attacked with about 25 people, among them, three security personnel killed.

The latest attack, according to a native, who identified himself as Oche, told newsmen occurred on Wednesday evening with 15 corpses already recovered from the affected Ugboju community and several people still missing.

Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mike Inalegwu, who confirmed the attack on the Ugboju community said that several people were killed and many others including children were missing.

According to him, “The incident happened in the evening yesterday (Wednesday)  when people were engaged in social activities. The armed herders surrounded the Ugboju community from different places and attacked the people.

“The armed herders were just shooting sporadically while people were running helter skelter. When they were done in Ugboju they moved to the deserted Okokolo and burnt down many houses.

“We have buried nine people in my community this morning.”

Also confirming the attack in a text message on Thursday, a member of the House of Assembly representing Agatu State Constituency,  Godwin Edoh, said that the armed herders attacked the Ugboju community.

He said, “No response from any quarter. Instead another village in Agatu North  called Ugboju Omaga was attacked on Wednesday where 15 people were  killed.

“Our cry to the government and other security agencies for aid has fallen on deaf ears so, we are just left at the mercy of God.

“What have my people done to this government in the state and at the federal level? I totally condemn this attack on innocent people of Agatu by these armed herdsmen who are bent on taking over and occupying our ancestral home by force.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive information about the incident from the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Agatu.

“Let’s wait for the DPO, I will confirm from him. As we speak there are so many police teams in Agatu who were deployed there,” Anene said.

In Taraba State, suspected gunmen in military uniform on Wednesday attacked Akinde, Tse Yongo, Tse Adem and Tse Ahikyegh Communities in Donga local government area of Taraba, killing three people while many residents sustained various gunshot injuries.

A kindred head of Ugondo, Zaki Uma Ugondo, told journalists on the phone that the attack was more like a joint attack by suspected military men and Jukun militia.

Zaki Ugondo alleged that the attackers, many of whom were in military uniform, also rode on over 30 military motorcycles and attacked the villages.

“They came on over 30 military motorcycles while many of them were in military uniform.

“At first when villagers saw them, they thought the army were coming for good, not knowing that they were coming with our killers. They came and quickly opened fire on the villagers.

“They first invaded Akinde before proceeding to Tse Yongo, Tse Adem and Tse Ahikyegh Communities. They came through Wukari and invaded the Communities.

“They killed Luper Unongo, Tony Yongo and Gerigori Akinde, while many others who sustained gunshot injuries are currently receiving treatment at different hospitals,” Zaki Ugondo narrated.

When contacted, Lt. Olabodunde Oni, the Public Relations Officer for the 6 Brigade of the Nigerian Army Jalingo, however, denied the military involvement in the attack.

Oni noted that the army’s presence in the state was to maintain peace, and not to create tension.

“We got the report of the attack on four Communities in Donga local, but I wish to inform you that the army were not among the attackers. The army are only here to ensure peace, and not to participate in any attack against innocent citizens,” Oni clarified.

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