Despite Heavy Security Presence, Herdsmen Continue Killing Spree in Benue


George Okoh in Makurdi

Despite the heavy presence of security agencies, suspected herdsmen Monday evening attacked Omosu village in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, killing at least 10 persons, while many others sustained critical injuries.

The attack on Omosu came on the heels of similar a attack by suspected herders of cattle on Umenger in Guma Local Government Area of the state on Sunday night when two people were reportedly killed.

According to the Chairman of the Okpokwu Local Government Area, Mr. Francis Olofu, who spoke to THISDAY on the phone over 10 bodies of the victims were taken to St Mary’s Hospital, Okpoga Mon night, while many other residents were still missing.
He said the attack took place around 5 p.m.

The chairman also disclosed that the state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, and the security agencies would visit the area Tuesday for an on-the-spot assessment.
Another resident of the area disclosed that over 40 members of the community had been killed by the herdsmen who attacked the area and were shooting at anyone in sight.

He said several women and children were killed in the attack.
A call to state the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Omoseni, to confirm the latest attack proved abortive as he did not pick his call or return a text message from THISDAY.

On the Sunday night attack at Umenger in Guma Local Government Area, an eyewitness, who managed to escape the incident, said the suspected herdsmen ambushed some residents who were on their way back from their farms.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Col. Paul Hemba (rtd), confirmed the deaths involving a man and a woman.

He explained that the victims had gone to check their burnt houses and were returning when the herdsmen laid ambush and murdered two of them.

Hemba said: “The villagers were on a bike and heading to Umenger, which is close to Gbajimba that houses the headquarters of the military operation in the state known as Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, when the herdsmen who had occupied the area hid on a hill and attacked them.

“The motorcycle rider managed to escape but the occupants could not as they were murdered. The police in the area complained that they do not have functional patrol vehicle to pursue the attackers.

“The bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital.”
He also disclosed that the soldiers planned to carry out an operation in the area to fish out the herdsmen.

When contacted on phone, the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the police were investigating the attack.