Herdsmen slaughter 50 in Benue communities, throats slashed, eyes and private organs removed
No fewer than 50 persons were said killed in coordinated attacks on Tom-Atar and Umenge, Akor villages in Guma, Governor Samuel Ortom’s home town and Ayilamo, Turan, Ngambe-Tiev in Logo local government areas of Benue state by suspected herdsmen. The dead included nine members of the Benue State Livestock Guards. The killings provoked tears from the Governor.
Many more were injured in the mayhem including four year old Ushahemba Msuega who was shot at Tom-Atar village by the assailants. He is still in critical condition at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi.
The attacks reportedly started late on New Year’s Day and continued to the early hours of Tuesday. Many houses were razed and yet a number of persons have gone missing in the confusion that trailed the attack.
An emotional Ortom seized the moment to call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government to protect the people of the state from killer herdsmen. The state has been under the spell of herdsmen for a long time.
The Governor was compelled to summon an emergency meeting of the State Security Council Tuesday morning to discuss the matter.
He said: “From what we have heard, so many innocent people have been killed by these herdsmen. You would recall that I made official reports to the federal government about the intended invasion of Benue State by these herdsmen who claimed that they would resist the law. I have never seen where people would come out with this level of impunity.
“This is unfortunate, we are living in a country that is presumed to be our own. Security agencies in this country had been aware of the impending attacks and what you are seeing here is just a tip of the iceberg.
“From the report I have gotten so far what has happened is beyond what we are seeing here in Makurdi where some of the dead and injured are being brought for medical attention.
“So many people have been killed, houses razed and some of those killed had their throats slashed, eyes and private organs removed and killed like animals.
“At the moment the entire Logo and Guma and Gums local government areas have been turned into centres for refugees where people are running and fleeing for safety. You can imagine that innocent women and children and unarmed people were slaughtered in cold blood just for no reason all because they want to be law-abiding.
“I feel sad about all this. Is this how we are going to continue? The Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari must arise and give us protection to show that we are truly citizens of this country. Though we will continue to urge our people to be law abiding but there is a limit that we can go. This is not fair, it is not right and certainly unacceptable.”
Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu said more police [personnel have been deployed to the affected areas.