By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—NO fewer than seven persons were reportedly killed during the Christmas break in two separate attacks on Adim Akpa and Utonkon communities in Otukpo and Ado Local Government areas of Benue State.
An eyewitness said: “They stormed the village on motorbikes in the evening, shooting sporadically, leaving two people dead while some others sustained injuries, after which they fled the scene.
“The matter was immediately reported to the Police in Otukpo, who urged the people to remain calm, promising to beef up security in the area. But as I speak with you, the people have all deserted their homes in search of a safe place.”
Another eyewitness account revealed that the attack at Utonkon was also carried out by another set of four armed men on motorbikes, who stormed the community while some of the locals were busy sharing the meat they jointly bought for the Yuletide celebration.
According to the witness, “I had gone to the village to visit a friend at about 2p.m., when suddenly we saw about four men on motorbikes, armed with pump action riffles shooting sporadically at the people, who were busy sharing the meat they bought for the Christmas festivities.
“People scampered for safety, women and children were crying and running into nearby bushes to take cover, but about five persons were not so lucky— they were gunned down in cold blood.
“The armed men, at a point, came down from their bikes and started moving from one compound to another, as if they were searching for something or somebody, shooting at anything in sight including animals.
“Shortly thereafter, after they all mounted their bikes and fled the scene. As we speak, the injured have been rushed to the General Hospital in Igumale.”
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Moses Yamu, who confirmed the incidents, however, said four persons were killed in the two separate attacks.
His words: “We suspect the attack at Adim Akpa was a reprisal for the two herdsmen who, few weeks ago, were passing through that community without cows, but went missing without trace till date.”
On the Utonkon attack, Yamu said: “The information at my disposal indicated that two persons were killed and five others are in critical condition at the hospital.
“That attack was carried out by unknown gunmen, who stormed the village on motorbikes. But we have arrested on person with a locally-made shot gun and investigation into the matter is still ongoing.”