By Peter Duru, Makurdi
No fewer than 14 people were on Wednesday night murdered in two separate attacks by suspected armed herdsmen on Mchia and Mou communities of Logo Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state.
The attack also left close to 30 persons with serious injuries while many others are missing and unaccounted for.
It was gathered from a leader in the area, Chief Joseph Anawa that the invaders stormed the communities at about 10pm.
According to him, “it is a sad day for use here in Logo; armed Fulani herdsmen attacked Mchia, a settlement along Abeda-Anyiin road, just three kilometres to Anyiin the Logo LGA headquarters at about 10pm.
“They killed 12 people there and shot so many that are at the hospital at the moment. One cannot tell of their condition because they were severely wounded.
“The attackers did not stop there, they went inside to Mou village where they shot so many people and killed two on the spot. Many are also missing and unaccounted for.
“These attacks were unprovoked. At Mchia village the people actually saw the Fulani herdsmen and heard them speaking their language.
“They came with sophisticated wepons from Arufu settlement in Wukari LGA of Taraba state which shares the same border with our communities.
“The attack was totally unprovoked there was no conflict between them and the attacked communities. They just want to chase us away from our ancestral homes and take over, so that they can have free access to graze on our farms.
“The attacked communities are all connected and close to Taraba state. In fact it is just a tarred road that serves as demarcation between the communities in Benue and those in Taraba state; That is what the colonial masters left for us.
“We actually need security at that place particularly at Chembe settlement. That is the point from which they cross into our communities. If we have a security post there, they will not be able to cross over to unleash mayhem on the people. That is the immediate solution to this repeated attacks.”
Reacting, the Logo Local Government Council Chairman, Mrs. Salome Tor who lamented that the attack was unprovoked said “they went from one house to the other and slaughtered innocent people.
“Women and children were gruesomely murdered in the attack. It’s pathetic and traumatic for everyone, we have not slept since last night.
“I am shocked beyond words, I am working with the security on the matter. Actually there is a detachment of the 72 Battalion of the army stationed close to the attacked communities.
“When I got wind of the attack, I called the military and the Agro Rangers though it was raining heavily, but before they mobilise to the area the invaders had unleashed mayhem on the people and retreated.
“They killed a total of 14 persons and badly wounded over 25 others who have been moved to hospitals for treatment.”
Confirming the development, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba also disclosed that the troops of Operation Whirlstroke, OPWS, the joint military/security operation repelled a similar attack on Ortese and Nkohol communities in Guma LGA where many of the invaders were killed.
“They however burnt five motorcycles belonging to the military personnel which they parked while chasing them on foot.”
Contacted, the Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Kevin Aligbe who confirmed attack said the troops had also received intelligence about a planned attack by the terrorists “on Ortese, Nkohol and two other locations in Guma LGA on Tuesday night.
“We quickly deployed in the night and reinforced the places Wednesday morning. My troops noticed where they were hibernating in the bush and went after them. They made contacts with them; they saw them carrying their casualties and running into the bush.
“In the cause of coming back, one of our soldiers slumped, he was not shot. He was rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed dead. We are still maintaining the trend in that axis and that is why you have not heard about any attack.”
“We are still human when we heard about the Logo attack. The pattern of settlement of the people too is not helping us. But our troops are managing the situation in Logo.”
Also, the Benue State Polce Commissioner, Wale Abass who also confirmed the attacks said the police had recorded 10 deaths.