*Police recover 10 corpses from affected communities
BY Peter Duru & Dotun Ibiwoye
Indications emerged yesterday that the death toll in last Thursday’s attack on communities in Agagbe, Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State by suspected herdsmen may have risen to over 30 according to the account by a resident in the area.
However, the Benue State Police command in a statement, issued yesterday in Makurdi stated that its personnel had recovered 10 corpses from the affected villages.
The source in the area disclosed that the invaders who struck in the early hours of Thursday sacked the affected communities in Agagbe including Mbappa, Tse-Adudu and Enger villages and also left scores injured while many were yet unaccounted for.
According to the source, “they came in their numbers wielding sophisticated weapons, shooting anything on sight and razing the houses and huts of the people.
“Initially as at yesterday the figure of the dead was 10 but with more bodies being recovered and many others still missing the number of the dead could be over 30.
“Some of these people were hacked to death when they were fleeing their communities while some were killed in their sleep because the invaders struck around 2am.
“As we speak people are still moving in droves into Naka town, the local government headquarters to take refuge but even Naka may not be safe because there is palpable tension everywhere in the small town.
“The worst hit were women and children who were running in several directions looking for where to find shelter and safety. Already some of those fleeing were heading towards Adoka in Otukpo Local Government which enjoys relative peace.”
Confirming the crisis, the Benue State Police Command in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent(ASP) Moses Yamu said it had reinforced security in the area.
The statement read in part, “the Command regrets to report that at about 6pm yesterday, April 5th., 2018, eight dead bodies were found in the bush around Tse-Adudu and Enger villages in Gwer West local government area.
“This is in addition to the two that were removed from the same area at about 8:30am of the same day. They were believed to be victims of armed bandits, suspected to be cross-border insurgents/cattle rustlers.
“The Mobile Police Force Unit deployed in Naka general area, had in the course of their patrols, encountered the same insurgents.
“Security operations in the affected areas and other communities in the State have been stepped up with reinforcement of the Police Special Forces on Counter Insurgency to curb the criminal activities of the armed marauders.”
The command also appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and vigilant and also report any suspicious movements in their communities to law enforcement agencies.