April 7, 2023

Death toll in Benue’s armed herders’ attack hits 51

killing of herders in Plateau

…as angry youths take over Otukpo-Oweto-Abuja road to protest carnage

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The death toll in Wednesday’s armed herdsmen attack on Umogidi village, Enetekpa Adoka district of Otukpo Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state has risen to 51.

This is just as angry youths of neighbouring Apa LGA where a traditional ruler in the Ugbobi community and many others were equally murdered by the marauders, took over the busy Otukpo-Oweto-Abuja road to protest the carnage and to demand the intervention of the government.

The casualty figure in the Umogidi attack rose from the initial 46 to 51 after five more corpses were recovered from the besieged village between Thursday and Friday morning.

The increase in the death toll was confirmed by the Chairman of Otukpo LGA, Mr Bako Ejeh who said after the initial 46, four more corpses were recovered yesterday and another was found Friday morning.

The Chairman who lost his 33-year-old son in the attack disclosed that a missing woman was also found alive Friday morning.

He said “Luckily the woman who was missing initially was discovered alive this morning. But the death toll rose to 51 after one corpse we recovered this morning.

“The situation is however calm because security personnel have been sent in and there is no further problem. But we are appealing to the government to come to our aid. Government should give us support so that we do not experience a repeat of the attack.

“This morning Governor Samuel Ortom sent his Deputy, Benson Abounu to come and commensurate with us and encourage us.

“The Federal Government must live to its responsibilities, we cannot fold our hands and watch these Fulani herdsmen come and take over our land. Everybody needs to rise up and nip it in the bud. We cannot understand where the country is headed.

“Where does the Fulani want us to go, they cannot chase us out of our ancestral homes. My own son was also killed by the invaders, what is our sin?”

Meanwhile, one of the leaders in Apa LGA, Abba Ocholi who was trapped on the Otukpo-Oweto-Abuja when the youths of Apa LGA took over the busy road Friday morning said he had to abandon his car and made his way to his residence on foot.

He said “this morning our angry youths mounted a roadblock at Ugbokpo the Apa Local Government Headquarters. I ran into them and in fact I abandoned my vehicle there.

“All the vehicles from Abuja and those from the East were all stucked there and one could move for several hours. But two teams of soldiers came in from Makurdi and the youths were prevailed on to end the protest. So they finally agreed to vacate the road.

“It is unfortunate that Fulanis are doing this in our communities, they have no reasons whatsoever for the killings. Our people cannot go to the farms and they cannot do anything now, if they see anyone they kill and the government is not doing anything.

“If this does not stop the youths will not take it kindly even with our political leaders. They are killing and raping our women it is terrible. Strangely these set of Fulanis do or move with their wives, they only move with cows and guns. So it is a serious issue.

Contacted the Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Matters, Col. Paul Hemba(retd.) confirmed that security had been beefed up in the affected communities to ensure the restoration of peace and calm in the areas.