…we’ll visit the affected communities Tuesday and come out with a statement – Col. Hemba, Security Adviser
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Over 100 persons were at the weekend reportedly killed in a coordinated bloody attack on four Council Wards of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, LGA, by joint militia gangs made up of armed herdsmen and loyalists of the later militia leader, Terwase Agwaza alias Gana.
Vanguard gathered from a reliable source in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity that the gangs had between Saturday and Sunday invaded and sacked several communities in Yooyo, Utange, Mbatura/Mberev and Mbayongo Council Wards in the LGA.
He said “since Saturday communities in four Council Wards have come under severe attacks by armed herdsmen who are supported by a local militia gang made up of loyalists of late Terwase Agwaza alias Gana.
“The villages and communities in the four Council Wards have been like war zones since Saturday. The militia gangs move from one community to another shooting sporadically, killing and looting the property of the people.
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“The development has created pandemonium of unimaginable proportion in Katsina-Ala LGA. The gangs have adopted commando-style attacks to kill unsuspecting farmers.
“They attack a community and before the military and security personnel arrive the scene they pull out and invade another community.
“As we speak so many persons have been killed between Saturday and Sunday and the people are fleeing and running for several kilometres to safer places and communities but the fear is that nobody knows the next community that would be invaded,” he said.
Confirming the development, Chairman of Katsina-Ala LGA, Mr Alfred Atera said the situation and manner of attacks might have overwhelmed the military and security personnel on the ground in Katsina-Ala.
“The herdsmen have developed a strategy. They are not attacking one just place. They have been attacking from one place to the either. If they attack Kwaghaondo the next thing you hear is that they are attacking Utange.
“Four Council Wards are under attack by the Fulanis herdsmen. They include Yooyo, Utange, Mbatura/Mberev and Mbayongo Council Wards.
“More than 100 people have been killed at different places. I told the military that the attackers have developed a strategy of attacking from one place to the other.
“So the military and security personnel are going here and there. But before they get to a place the attackers have finished and gone to another point, that is the situation in Katsina-Ala.
“The authorities are aware of all these things, as I am speaking to you my traditional rulers are here to see what we can do at our own level.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene said she was yet to receive reports of the incident from the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, for Katsina-Ala LGA.
On his part, the Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Brig. Gen. Clement Apere said, “the narrative is not true.”
Katsina-Ala LGA is one of the three LGAs that constitute Sankera axis of the state which is known as the food basket of the state.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Colonel Paul Hemba (retd.) said though security personnel claimed there was nothing like that “ a team of military personnel, the Local Government Council Chairman and myself would Tuesday visit the communities for on the spot assessment after which a formal statement would be issued on the matter.”
Vanguard recalls that Governor Samuel Ortom had at the weekend raised the alarm that the ceaseless invasion of Benue communities had taken its toll on the economy of the state and also creating serious food shortages across the state.