At least nine persons have been killed in a fresh attack on sleepy Abagena, a Benue community by assailants suspected to be Herdsmen.
Eye witnesses say the attackers invaded the community at about 10pm and killed several people, in the community located after Benue toll gate.
The Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom who condemned the terrorists action said the latest attack happened on Thursday, January 19th, 2023 on Abagena, a community with one of the largest numbers of internally displaced persons, IDPs in Makurdi,
He stressed that the “current attacks are fueled by reckless comments of some highly placed individuals whose support has emboldened the armed herders to visit mayhem of greater proportions on the people of the state, believing that they have influential personalities backing them.”
A statement by Terver Akase, the Media Adviser to the governor said “Fulani pastoralists have been made to believe that Benue and all other lands in the country belong to them, a fallacy that has prompted the herders and their sponsors to recruit fighters from Niger, Mali, Chad and other countries to go on a violent rampage, in a bid to conquer the country.”
He reminds those who have vowed to destabilize Benue and have their way that the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is still in full force, and says anyone who wants to rear animals in the state must be prepared to do so within ranches, as stipulated by the law.
Governor Ortom sympathizes with families of victims of the Abagena attack and reassures the displaced persons living in the camps that his administration has taken measures to guarantee their safety in collaboration with security agencies.
The corpses including women and children have been recovered while several others seriously injured were evacuated to hospital for treatment.
Some of the bodies were beheaded and their heads taken away by the bandits.
Special Adviser on Security Mattters to the Benue State Governor, Lt. Col Paul Hemba, rtd who confirmed this said security personnel and other villagers have been combing the bushes for more victims who were said to have been shot by the invaders.
He said the attack was unprovoked as the villagers were already set to go to bed when they met their untimely deaths in the hands of the Fulani bandits.
According to the Security Adviser, the casualty figure may likely rise as some other persons who were fatally shot and wounded may not survive the injuries in their chest.
The Security Adviser gave the names of those killed as Gbashaor Acho, Gbashaor Joseph, Anshe Dekera, Ancho Kpor, Eunice Gbashaor, Sewuese Gbashaor, Terlumun Ajoh, Emberga Gbashaor and Donald Gbashaor.
He further disclosed that two of those killed were IDPs while the bandits stole two motorcycles belonging to the villagers.