By Peter Duru
Makurdi- No fewer than three persons were feared dead while scores sustained serious injuries in an early Thursday morning attack on Ukemberagya community, Gaambe-Tiev council ward of Logo local government area of Benue state by suspected militant herdsmen.
The attackers also set ablaze several houses, huts and food barns in five villages in the affected community.
The latest attack came barely 24 hours after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the Local government area to commiserate with victims of herdsmen attack in the area who now reside in IDPs camp at Anyiiin.
Vanguard gathered from a source in one of the affected communities that the armed militant herdsmen stormed the council ward at about 6:30am shooting sporadically and razing the besieged villages.
“They came around 6:30 this morning, shooting and razing our homes, farmlands and food barns at Tse-Mue, Torkaa, Mgbakpa, Torjem and Ifer villages.The operation lasted till about 9:00am when they pulled out in their usual hit and run style.
“It was after the attackers had left that we managed to enter the village and our farms to search for our loved ones who were missing. As at the moment, we have recovered the corpses of three persons including those of Bem Torjem, Apedzan Chia and Akpuku Koya which have been deposited at the mortuary in Anyiin. The injured are also receiving treatment in the hospital and clinics in the area.
“The incident happened at a time when farmers were on their way to the farms. As we speak there is palpable fear in neigbouring communities because the affected villages have been deserted as people are fleeing in droves to seek safety in those villages.
“We are still searching the bushes because many others are still missing and unaccounted for especially our children and women so casualty figure may increase but we pray it doesn’t.
Another eyewitness, told Vanguard that those killed in the attack were returnees from the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camp at Anyiin who were sacked from their homes in January.
“They just returned from the IDPs camp at Anyiin to try and gather themselves and their families to find their footings since security personnel had given assurances of the safety of the communities.
“Unfortunately, after running away from their ancestral homes for over four months, some of them have fallen victim to the murderous armed herdsmen.”
When contacted, the Logo local government council Chairman, Mr. Richard Nyajo who confirmed the attack said the matter had been reported to the Police, the Adviser to the Governor on Security and the State Governor.
According to Nyajo, “the attack took place this morning just when the people were moving to their farms. So far three bodies have been recovered from the attacked villages and the search for several missing persons is still ongoing.”
At the time of filing this report, Governor Samuel Ortom was holding a crucial security meeting with heads of security agencies in the state.
Meanwhile Benue state Commissioner of Police could not be reached for confirmation as he was attending the said meeting.