Eight Persons Killed as Gunmen Invade Benue Community

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From George Okoh in Makurdi

Unknown gunmen Saturday invaded Okpoga, the headquarters of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, killing eight persons.

The gunmen said to be about 10, invaded the area and shot sporadically at anyone they could sight leading to the death of no fewer than eight persons, including Mr. Okoh Simon, an emergency ambulance service provider, who lived at the city centre.

According to a source, the attack might have emanated from the neighbouring Ollô community in Edumoga district of the same local government who had been in a cold war with the Okpoga people.

The source said the two communities had been attacking each other over the past five years.

“We have been in this cold war with the Edumoga people for the past five years. All efforts by security agents and other government officials to settle the rift have proved otherwise. The Olò people are very stubborn and wicked. They call themselves ‘Benue’s Niger-Delta Region,” Mr. Ogwuche Innocent, an Okpoga resident said.

As at the time of filing this report, it is not clear if anyone had been arrested.

The bodies of those killed in the attack have been deposited at the Okoga General Hospital mortuary.

Confirming the attack, the Benue State Police Command’s spokesperson, DSP Moses Yamu, in a statement said gunshots was heard at a beer parlour around Okpoga roundabout Saturday at about 9pm, “Our men swiftly mobilised to the scene and engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel which forced them to flee but however, six (6) persons including a police sergeant who was in mufti were killed in the beer parlour before the police arrived d scene”.

He said preliminary investigation revealed that the yet-to-be-identified armed men were from Ollo community, led by one “Mathew”.

He said the state Police Commissioner Ene Okon has ordered the Area Commander to relocate to the area, as teams of Operation Zenda, PMF and CTU have been drafted to the area to ensure that the culprits are identified and arrested.

He said investigation had since commenced to unravel the motive behind the attack.