FROM: PETER DURU, MAKURDI
No fewer than 100 persons ware fearedÂ dead in the lingering hostilities amongst the people of Yooyo and Mbayongo council wards in Katsina-Ala local government area of Benue state.
The killing and devastations in the affected communities which prompted angry protest at the gates of Benue state government house, Friday, by youths of the affected communities was alleged to have been masterminded by a gang of militia who have literally taken over the affected communities.
The placard carrying youths who were led by one Justine Shaku stormed the office of the Deputy Governor of Benue State to registered their disenchantment with the governmentâ€™s insensitivity to their plight urged the Suswam led administration to take decisive step to arrest militia activities in their communities.
Vanguard gathered that aside the human lives that were lost in the fracas,Â several houses and villages had been leveled to the ground, as the invading militiasÂ ransackedÂ the communities, destroyed public property and forcing people, including women and children Â to flee forÂ refuge inÂ bushes and forests.
Relaying their experience to newsmen, the leader of the protesting youths Mr. Justine Shaku decried the development in their communities in Katsina-Ala local government area.
He stressed that a militia group allegedly led by a wanted notorious armed robber who goes by the name â€˜Ghanaâ€™ has masterminded the killings in the affected communities.
According to him, â€œThe militia appear in army uniforms and sometimes in plain cloths and they consistently raid our villages at night. They burn houses and kill at random, and they have succeeded in sacking inhabitants of Yooyo Village as the people have all sort refuge in the bush and forestsâ€.
â€œEven women and children are in the forest without food or water. The rampaging militia have killed over 100 persons and destroyed countless villagesâ€.
We want this madness stopped, government should stop these killers and save our communities from extinctionâ€™â€™, Shaku said.
Vanguard also gathered that the dreaded militia leader who hails from Mbayongo council wardÂ has over the years kept a large army of loyalists, who willfully brandish sophisticated weapons.
The militia gang is said to currently enjoying the support and patronage of the local government council chairman who was recently taken in for question by the Benue State Police Command to ascertain his level of culpability in unfolding scenario in Katsina-Ala Local government area.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs, Dr. Cletus Tyokyaa, who received the protesting youths on behalf of the state government at the gate of the deputy governorâ€™s office, pleaded with them to maintain the peace and desist from any form of reprisal attacks that could exacerbate the current situation.
He promised to convey their demands to Governor Gabriel Suswam whom he said was indisposed due to pressing national duty.