From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
Gunmen suspected to be killer herdsmen have reportedly killed three people in cold blood, in a fresh attack on Adaka community of Benue State.
Adaka is a settlement about 20 kilometres on the outskirts of Makurdi Local Government Area and, also, Benue State capital. The incident happened on Saturday.
A resident of the community, Iorkohol Unande, a survivor of the dastardly incident, said the attack was unprovoked. He said the attackers shot sporadically, injuring several people in the community, while three dead bodies were recovered by the time the killer herdsmen retreated unchallenged. He said the three people killed by the attackers were all men who were shot at and their bodies butchered by the assailants.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Benue State Police Command, Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident. She, however, said she had no details yet at the time of filing this report.
Also confirming the incident to newsmen yesterday, Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Security Matters, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba, said: “On Friday, Adaka community reported that one of their sons went out with two others who came to rent a piece of land to farm rice, but never came back up till the evening of that day.
“The community raised the alarm, they alerted me. I got in touch with security personnel patrolling the area, this includes the police and military. But they said they did not have information on any missing persons.
“I was informed of the development in the night, so we waited until Saturday morning, and sent out patrols, including members of the community; and in the course of the patrol we discovered the dead bodies of the missing three people brutally killed, obviously with machete.”
He added: “The community is suspecting that herdsmen murdered the victims. This is because the herdsmen have been operating in their vicinity. Additionally, just last week, the herdsmen alleged that some of their cows, which invaded the peoples rice farms, were killed in that community.”
Hemba said the Commissioner of Police, Wale Abass, is investigating the case.
Benue State has been under incessant brutal attacks by invading Fulani herdsmen, and the renewed killings are coming barely two months after similar separate attacks took place in Gbeji and Ukohol communities in Ukum and Guma Local Government Areas of the state, where at least 60 people, including two security personnel, were massacred.
Official statistics from the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) indicate that the state currently has over 2 million people taking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, as result of herdsmen attacks.