Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders have allegedly killed 32 Tiv villagers at various locations across the southern senatorial district of Nasarawa State. The coordinated attacks reportedly took place on Saturday and Sunday.
The Punch learnt that the attacks were carried out simultaneously in Awe, Keana, Obi and Doma local government areas of the state, leaving 19 others with varying degrees of injury.
Confirming the incident in a telephone interview, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Gabriel Akaaka, said the gunmen invaded his house and set it ablaze.
He said, “It is true the gunmen believed to be Fulani herders raided my house this morning and set it ablaze.
“The Tiv villagers are stranded. I have just spoken to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Bello, to deploy his security personnel and security operatives in the state to the area in order to rescue the villagers.”
One of our correspondents, who went round some of the affected areas reports that about 15,000 fleeing Tiv villagers were stranded on the streets of Lafia, the state capital, while over 100,000 were taking refuge in different Internally Displaced Persons camps at Agwatashi, Aloshi, Awe, Adudu, Obi, Keana, Doma, Agyaragu, among other locations.
Confirming the incident to one of our correspondents in a telephone interview, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kennedy Idirisu, said the command only learnt of the attack early on Monday.
He said, “There was an attack on Monday morning, but the command has yet to receive details as regards the number of people that lost their lives in the early hour attacks by unknown gunmen.”
In another development, the Benue State Police Command on Monday confirmed the death of four of its men, killed by suspected herdsmen.
According to a statement issued by the command’s spokesman, Moses Yamu, the killing took place at Anyibe in the Logo Local Government Area of the state.
Logo and Guma local government areas of the state had been under attacks by the suspected Fulani herdsmen, resulting in the loss of lives. 73 victims were buried in January, 2018.
Yamu stated that the command’s “personnel came under attack by insurgents at Anyibe, Logo Local Government Area of the state between 18.00 hours of yesterday, 15 of April, 2018 and early morning of date (Monday.) Sadly at the moment, four casualties have been suffered by police.”
He said the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had deployed more policemen in the area.
The PPRO said the attackers would soon be arrested and be made to face the wrath of the law.
In yet another separate incident, soldiers from the 707 Special Forces on Monday killed four suspected Fulani herdsmen in Yogbo community of the Guma Local Government Area of the state.
One of our correspondents gathered from the locals that military identity cards were found on the bodies of the slain herdsmen by the soldiers who conducted a search on them.
A source from the village told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the herdsmen pretended to be soldiers on duty.
Another source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the remains of the herders were taken to NASME private clinic in Makurdi.
When contacted, the Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, Major Ayeni Olabisi, confirmed the incident.
Ayeni said, “Our troops stationed in Yogbo, in the Guma LGA, killed four Fulani herdsmen but no military identity cards were found on them. I will still contact you to give you further information.”
Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State Governor, Terver Akase, said about 20 of the Fulani herdsmen attacked Yogbo village.
He said, “Herders invaded the village and started burning down several houses. Troops responded and killed four of them while others fled.”