BY PETER DURU
MAKURDI – Two persons were reportedly killed in their farms Thursday morning at Branch Umenger, in Guma local government area of Benue state when suspected herdsmen stormed the community at about 8am shooting sporadically in the besieged village.
A source told Vanguard that the invaders who stormed the community in their numbers also burnt down adjoining Tse-Semaka community where several houses, huts, farmland and food barns were razed.
The attack came despite the ongoing Exercise Ayem A’ Kpatuma or Cat Race, a Nigerian military spike drill to end herdsmen incursions in Benue state.
The attacked communities which are few kilometers from the operational base of the Exercise Ayem A’ Kpatuma in Guma local government area had in the past come under severe attacks by herdsmen.
According to the source, “the well armed herdsmen who came in large numbers around 8am, attacked and burnt Branch Umenge and also razed down Tse-Semaka after killing two young men, James Apav and Ataki Mageri in their farmers.
“When the attackers stormed the communities the security personnel who were patrolling the communities also fled with the helpless locals because they couldn’t withstand the herdsmen and reinforcement did not come on time.
“In their usual style, after the attack, the herdsmen pulled out even the security men who moved in swiftly to reinforce security in the area went after them but could not traced them.”
The development was confirmed in a statement released Thursday in Makurdi by the State Police Command through its Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu.
The statement read in part, “at about 8am today 22/03/2018, the attention of the Mobile Police Force Unit at Umenger Council Ward, Guma Local Government Area, LGA, was called to a case of Mischief by Fire, occurring at a settlement identified as Tse- Semaka in the aforementioned LGA.
“The Police Unit immediately raced to the scene where corpses of two persons were found . On the spot inquiry revealed that the deceased were attacked with matchet by a gang of bandits, who thereafter fled the scene.
“Some thatched houses were also found to have been set ablaze. Efforts are on going to apprehend the runaway bandits.”