By Peter Duru
Two personnel of the Benue Livestock Guards were yesterday reportedly ambushed and killed by suspected armed herdsmen in Tombo Council Ward, close to Ayilamo in Logo Local Government Area, LGA, of the state.
Vanguard gathered that the guards met their death after effecting the arrest of some herders who were grazing their cattle in farms in the community but got ambushed while conveying the cattle to a confinement facility.
According to one of the community leaders, Chief Joseph Anawa “the incident happened between 1 pm and 2 pm.
“The livestock guards went and arrested two Fulani herdsmen with their cattle who were grazing openly and were taking them to Ugba, headquarters of Ugba LGA.
“These other two young men that were killed by the militia herdsmen were lagging behind and were ambushed by the herdsman, who slaughtered them.
“Their corpses were then removed by the personnel of the Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corps in the area between 4 pm and 5 pm and taken to Ugba.
“The corpses were thereafter handed over to the Police in Ugba and later taken away and deposited at the mortuary in Ugba
“The herdsmen that committed the act ran away and you know in that kind of situation, there is bound to be tension because the guards were killed while on official duty,” he said.
Confirming the incident, Commander of the Guards, Mr Linus Zaki said “yesterday (Monday) information was received that herders had brought in cattle and were openly grazing in Logo. Some of the Guards moved to the said location and met some young herders with cows destroying people’s farms.
“The Guards impounded the cows and were taking the animals and the herders with them according to the law when they were attacked by armed herdsmen militia and two of the Guards, Aondohemba and Gbaior were shot and killed on the spot by the armed herders. This happened before Agro Rangers of the NSCDC who were alerted could get to the scene of the incident.
“As a law-abiding organisation, we have handed the arrested young herders whose names are Shaibu Hussaini and Kadiri Zakari to the police for prosecution.
“Let me, however, state that the attack on our men was unprovoked and stands condemned. The Benue State Livestock Guards do not carry arms.
“Our job is to protect the investments of both farmers and livestock owners. That is the mandate the Benue State Government has given to us through the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017. Therefore, anyone who takes up arms against us is lawless.
‘While we will not seek violent revenge, the long arms of the law will certainly catch up with those who killed our men,” he added.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene confirmed the killings.