…as 5 soldiers, 7 civilians die in Benue crisis
BY PETER DURU & NDAHI MARAMA
Maiduguri — Barely a week after bombs exploded in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram Islamic sect, Sunday night, attacked Alau Ngawo Fate village in Jere Local Government Area, killing 18 people.
This came as no fewer than five soldiers and seven civilians were also killed, Sunday morning, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in a fresh outbreak of a bloody crisis in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.
In Maiduguri, some gunmen, according to an eyewitness, Isa Yakubu, used Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, and petrol bombs in setting several houses ablaze, after slitting the throats of some of their victims in their houses and local shops.
Yakubu said: “We were shocked and terrified with the night attacks by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, as some of us were asleep when the attackers set our houses ablaze.
“My neighbours fled into the nearby bush, but the gunmen chased some of them and tied their hands to the back, before slitting the throats of some of the villagers.
“I cannot tell you the exact number of casualties of Sunday night’s multiple attacks, but the truth is that these insurgents don’t want us to live here in peace. Now that everything is destroyed by these gunmen, how do the surviving ones continue with life here in this village?”
The village head of Alau Ngawo Fate, Mallam Ibrahim, also confirmed the incident to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri.
He said most of the insurgents communicated in Kanuri language, while setting the houses ablaze for over 30 minutes without the intervention of soldiers and policemen from Maiduguri.
“We are at the mercy of these insurgents, as there was no security provided for us here in this village that had enjoyed peace for many decades. But yesterday (Sunday), I lost 18 of my people without any genuine cause,” the village head said.
Spokesman of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Mohammed Dole and Borno State Police Commissioner, Lawal Tanko confirmed the incident, but said they were yet to get detailed information on the number of casualties.
5 soldiers, 7 civilians die in Benue crisis
Also in Benue State, Vanguard gathered that five soldiers and seven civilians were killed by herdsmen.
Sources said the dead soldiers were part of the detachment of military personnel from the 72 Airborne Brigade in Makurdi who were dispatched to the crisis zone to maintain peace.
Contacted on the development, the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. John Ngbede, said the marauders attacked Agatu in their usual gorilla fashion at about 10 a.m. on Sunday.
We are alarmed
Meanwhile, the state secretary of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, an umbrella body of the Fulani herdsmen, Garus Gololo, also expressed disgust at the renewed crisis.
“I am alarmed because this latest crisis is comming at a time when measures are being put in place to ensure a check on any form of crisis between Fulani herdsmen and their host communities in Benue State,” Gololo said.
The Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Daniel Ezeala confirmed the story, saying: “The situation is under control as enough policemen have been drafted to affected communities and we have also commenced investigation into the matter.”