By Peter Duru, Makurdi
At least 20 persons have been reportedly killed in what appeared as another coordinated attack on Benue communities in Waya, Jato-Aka, Turan and villages in Mbabuande and Mbapa Council Wards of Kwande and Gwer West Local Areas of the state respectively.
It was gathered from a source in the Turan area that the victims of the Waya attack were killed in their farms by the bandits who invaded the community at about 11am on Thursday.
“When they came into our community our people were in their farms to prepare for the cropping season since it started raining few days back.
“It was while in the farm that the herdsmen stormed our village and all those they caught up with in the farms were killed while the lucky ones escaped with serious injuries.
“So far eight mutilated bodies of the victims have been recovered including those of children and a family of four who were murdered in cold blood.
“The bodies recovered includes those of Gbaeren Orsoo, Terdoo Tsega, Bemdoo Tsega, Abacha Tsega, Terkaa Tsega, Aôndoaseer Tyov, Iorhen Atim and Aôndowase Igba while the search for more bodies is still ongoing because several persons are still missing and people are fleeing their homes and villages.” he said.
Contacted, the Chairman of Kwande LGA, Mrs. Tartor Chianson who confirmed the killings said “the eight corpses so far recovered have been taken to the mortuary in Jato -Aka.
“The herdsmen are still around so I have reported the matter to the Security Adviser to the Governor and the troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, who are in the bush searching for more corpses.
“This is sad, my people went to the farm on Thursday because it rained and they were there to prepare the land for planting, unfortunately they were ambush and killed in their respective farms at Waya community close to Anwase.
“The herdsmen had came few days ago and set a lot of houses ablaze. They also kidnap some other persons, took away their motorcycles and later brought their multilated bodies and dumped them.
“All what they are doing is just to kill and chase our people away and take over our ancestral homes. As I speak with you some of our Council Wards are under siege; they include Mbachura, Kumakwagh, Yaav Moon and Mbaikyur.
“They have sustained the attacks in the last three months and we have lost over 50 persons in the attacks and we are now home to over 3,500 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs,” she added.
Meanwhile 12 persons were also reportedly killed by the marauders who invaded Tse Ibe, Tse Katsa, Tse Melayongu and Mbaakpam in Mbapa Council Ward as well as Tse Agungu Unger in Mbabuande Council Ward all of Gwer West LGA.
It was gathered from an indigene of the area, who narrowly escaped with his life, that nine persons were killed in Mbapa Council Ward while three others were murdered in Mbabuande Council Ward of the LGA.
According to the source who said he lost his elder brother in the attack, the armed herdsmen stormed Tse Ibe village on motorcycles at about 4pm on Thursday.
“They commenced the attack killing only men while asking women to escape with children. They later moved in convey to Kyande settlement area where they continued with the attack. I was lucky to have escaped with a motorcycle from the community, “ he added.
When contacted, the Chairman of Gwer West LGA, Mrs. Grace Igbabon said the Divisional Police Office, DPO, in charge of Naka and other security agencies had moved to the affected communities to ascertain the level of the attack.
“But my security secretary whose maternal home was affected in the attack told me that some of the recovered bodies were badly mutilated by the attackers and the people were making arregemnet to have them buried. But I am waiting for the DPO to return from the said affected areas before I can make a formal or informed statement.” she said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene said she had received reports of the attack in Kwande but was yet to get full details of the incident.