By Peter Duru
Makurdi—Two persons were feared dead, scores injured and many missing, Wednesday night, following a fresh attack by herdsmen on Iye community, Uvie council ward, Guma Local Government Area, Benue State.
Vanguard also gathered that the assailants reportedly razed houses and farmlands in the community, destroying everything on sight even, as residents of the community were said to have fled into nearby bushes for safety.
Contacted, Chairman of Guma Local Government, Mr. Anthony Shawon, who confirmed the attack said: “A detachment of security personnel is already being drafted to the area to contain the attack.
“So far, we have a record of two deaths, but the causality figure may be higher because some persons are still missing and unaccounted for.”
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress, APC, National Assembly candidate for Guma/Makurdi federal constituency, Mr. Terhide Utaan, in his reaction, blamed the Benue State government for masterminding the attack for political gains.
Utaan told newsmen that “this particular ‘attack’ is suspect. I daresay this attack on Iye is not by herdsmen, as is being alleged, but a deliberate use of the Benue Livestock Guard to create chaos and panic among voters.”
However, in a swift reaction, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Terver Akase accused APC of making good its earlier threats to “unleash herdsmen on the state, days to the general election in order to create insecurity in the state.”
Akase further said: “It is unfortunate that APC leaders in Benue State have mindlessly continued to exonerate herdsmen from the spate of attacks in our state, but blame the killings on our own people.
“It is so sad that for political reasons they have resorted to dancing on the graves of our dear ones, who brutally lost their lives in the crisis even when available records clearly showed those behind the killings.
“Our Livestock Guards are civil and not armed. How can they be responsible for the killings?
Reacting, Commander of the joint military spike operation in the state, codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said: “Our troops have carried out series of offensive operations against armed herdsmen/bandits across Benue State since the attack on Agatu.
“During the operations, which are still ongoing, a lot of casualties have so far been recorded on the side of the armed bandits. But full details of the operation would be made known to the public soon.”