No fewer than 50 persons including women, children and members of the Livestock Guards have been reportedly massacred by herdsmen in six communities in Benue State.
The communities are Gaambe-Tiev, Ayilamo and Turan in Logo Local Government Area and Umenger, Tse-Akor and Tomatar near Tse-Abi in Nongov District in Guma Local Government Area.
It was gathered that the invading herdsmen stormed Gaambe-Tiev, Ayilamo and Turan around 10am on New Year’s day as the people were closing from church and opened fire on them. The assailants also attacked Umenger and Tse-Akor earlier.
At about 3am on Tuesday, the herders were said to have moved from house to house in Tomatar, knocking on doors and gruesomely killing residents with matchetes.
At the time of filing this report, Dr. Gajir Hembao Tsoho of the Department of Surgery disclosed that over 30 victims were receiving treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) while many corpses had been deposited at the morgue.
At press time, more corpses were still being brought into the morgue from Tomatar while three of the wounded were said to have died while receiving treatment at the hospital.
Among the dead were a father and his two-year-old son and a young man said to have returned three days ago after completing his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The development has left many villagers fleeing the affected communities in droves while those in neighbouring communities too have continued to leave for fear of attack by the herdsmen.
The police have deployed more personnel to the affected communities to stem the killings.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu confirmed the attacks but failed to give casualty figure.
Governor Samuel Ortom confirmed that several people including nine members of the Livestock Guard were killed by the herdsmen.
Rising from an emergency security meeting, the governor described the attack as unacceptable and unfair even as he called on the Federal Government to act fast to forestal a break down of law and order in the state.
Ortom maintained that there was no going back on the implementation of the anti-open grazing law.
“Now, these herdsmen are coming to invade the land and sending the people running helter-skelter again after we have started the implementation (of the anti-open grazing law) and everybody received it. Those who wanted to leave left and nobody was attacked. This is not acceptable. We are not going to accept it.
“There is no going back on the implementation of this law. This is our land and the law was duly passed by our people. Now, those people who have been killed, their blood will cry to the Federal Government and if Federal Government doesn’t do something, their blood will cry to the Almighty God and I’m sure that God will deal with the situation Himself.
“This is not fair and it is not acceptable. I think this is where the Federal Government must come in immediately to stop the mayhem because these people are known. We heard that they met in one state where they mobilised to come to Benue. They passed through roadblocks.