By Taye Obateru & PETER DURU
SIXTY SIX lives were lost Monday in separate incidents in Benue, Plateau and Osun throwing several families into mourning. No fewer than 45 persons are feared dead in a renewed skirmish between Fulani herdsmen and native Tiv community in Gwer West local government area of Benue State while 14 people were burnt to death with 12 others seriously injured in an auto-accident that occurred at Iwaraja junction, near Ilesa, Osun state.
Also, 7 persons were crushed to death in another accident involving a trailer and a commercial Peugeot car along the Jos-Bukuru express highway.
Bloodbath in Benue
The bloodbath in Benue has left women and children seeking refuge in bushes and forests in the local government area.
The President of Tyosin Youth Association, Engr. Joseph Mom who disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists in Makurdi said the invaders stormed the area early Sunday morning killing people and burning down houses and properties in the area.
Mom said the Fulani herdsmen came from areas bordering the local government with the River Benue to carry out the attack on the affected communities of Tse-Ayande, Chille, Mma-Kpe, Tse-Gboku, Tse-Kpar and several other areas
He lamented that the where about of most inhabitants of affected communities are still unknown.
According to him, “They usually cross from the River with speed boat to carry out this premeditated attack. We have been hospitable to the Fulanis but they have continued to attack us on issues bothering on grazing areas”.
He added,”They are usually heavily armed living us always on the defensive. May be they felt what happened last year was not enough so they have come back to continue from where they stopped”, Mom lamented.
The Youth president lambasted security agencies accusing them of not living up to expectation in checking Fulani incessant invasion of the area, contending that the herdsmen have continued with the actbof hostility without being arrested.
He therefore called on the Federal government to as a matter of urgency deploy a special security task force to protect and guarantee the safety of the people who now live in panic
Meanwhile, the State Police Public Relations’ Officer ASP Ejike Alaribe confirmed in a telephone interview that the Police could confirm only 16 Deaths.
Alaribe intimated that security operatives have been deployed to the area to forestall further bloodbath.
7 crushed to death in Jos
In Jos, the driver of the trailer with registration number XA 847 was said to have lost control while answering a phone call, crossing to the other lane of the express road where it crashed into the Peugeot 504 car with registration number AH 762 KUJ believed to have taken off from Mangu.
The commercial vehicle was said to be dropping passengers when the trailer rammed into it and another car which had four occupants. One of those injured and rushed to hospital was a pregnant woman.
Angry youths said to have been angered by alleged lack of remorse of the driver torched the trailer and it took the intervention of the police and other security agencies to bring the situation under control.
The bodies of those killed were later deposited at the Plateau Specialist Hospital where some of the injured were also taken for treatment by men of the Federal Safety Corps and the police.
14 die in Osun accident
The FRSC Sector Commander in Osun, Mr Sunday Maku, who confirmed the casualty figures in the accident that happened in the state said the victims, including two drivers, were burnt beyond recognition when two buses coming from opposite directions collided and caught fire.
He said one of the buses was coming from Akure and heading to Ibadan while the other was moving in the opposite direction.
“The two buses were a white Toyota Hiace Bus with registration number LG 27 GAR with the inscription, Akoko Edo Line, while the other was a Volkswagen wagon with white and orange colour and an unidentified registration number.
“Twelve adults, including eight males and four females who were seriously injured, were rushed to Wesley College Hospital in Ilesa for treatment,” he said.
He blamed the incident, which occurred at about 12:10 p.m., on over speeding and dangerous overtaking.