• Security men given Ortomatic order to wade in
Human blood flowed again across Benue State as suspected herdsmen, on New Year day, invaded some communities in two local government areas of Guma and Logo leaving in their path, death, pains and sorrow.
Many were rendered fatherless, motherless while children, pregnant women and the elderly were also not spared as they were killed in their homes, allegedly, by the invading herdsmen. In all, more than 20 people lost their lives in the senseless bloody rampage while scores of others escaped with varying degrees of injuries, some of them, life-threatening.
One of the victims who escaped death by the whiskers is Peter Zion, a member of Livestock Guards. He was critically wounded with bullet wounds and matchete cuts all over his body. In fact, to cheat death, he needed to feign death.
Narrating his ordeal to Saturday Sun at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital where he is currently recuperating, Zion said he and seven of his colleagues had gone to sleep at their camp in Tomatar community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State on the night of the incident, January 1, 2018, and had high hopes that they would wake up the next morning without any hitch.
An eyewitness account of the attack
They were still in bed in the early hours of January 2 when sounds of gunshots resonated throughout their camps, and being unarmed, they had no option than to take cover by hiding within the camp. Zion, a native of Logo Local Government Area disclosed that he later escaped through the window amid the confusion.
The young father of one child also disclosed that he saw the herdsmen killing some of his colleagues that morning. But as he was trying to escape, one of the Fulanis whom he identified as Kuderi allegedly shot him in the right leg and he fell to the ground.
“As I was writhing in pains, I suddenly saw myself surrounded by four Fulanis; two in my front and two at my back. All of them were armed with guns and cutlasses.
“I summoned the last ounce of strength in me and snatched a cutlass from one of them and made to stab one of them. But another immediately raised his cutlass and gave me a deep cut on my right hand. Sensing grave danger, I quickly slumped as if I were dead. I had to feign death to survive because they meant to kill me.
“I know four of the Fulanis very well, their names are: Kuderi, Yashi, Maikudi and Kwata. One of them shot me in the leg. Initially, they were shooting at me but the bullets were not penetrating. It was then that Kuderi shot me in the leg. I went down and feigned death. Then they started butchering my left hand after they had given me a deep cut on my right hand.
“They then searched me and removed my handsets and money. I had over N80, 000 on me because I was planning to go and pay the hospital bills where my wife was delivered of a baby through caesarian section. I saw them killing two of my colleagues but I couldn’t help them because I was not armed.”
Victim’s wife laments
Zion’s wife, Jessica, whom he married in 2016, said she was in their village in Ugbah, Logo Local Government Area when the news got to her that her husband had been attacked by herdsmen.
“I was so devastated when I got the news because he is the breadwinner of our young family as I am a full-time housewife,” she said. “Although I am happy that he survived the attack, I am worried by its severity. He has matchete cuts on his head, hands, legs and a gunshot wound on his leg. I just pray he comes out of this soon, strong and well.”
She further lamented: “I was operated about a month ago to deliver my child. We are yet to settle the hospital bill. He just told me a day before the attack that he had gotten the money and would be bringing it. Now the money is gone and my husband cannot walk.”
The young mother then appealed to government to take care of her husband as well as bring the perpetrators to book as a way of ending the Fulani herdsmen attacks in Benue State.
In a related development, the family of a septuagenarian, Pa Zuaga Shidan, killed in the attack in Tse-Orveren village, Tswarev, Gaambe Tiev, Logo Local Government Area, are yet to get over the shock.
A nephew of the deceased, Pascal Ulaha said his uncle was killed on Tuesday January 2, at about 5:30 pm while he was having his bath inside a makeshift bathroom in his compound. “When the Fulani invaders started shooting in the village, he was hit by a bullet and slumped to death in the bathroom,” he stated.
Ulaha who informed our correspondent that his uncle left behind one wife and seven children added that five other people lost their lives, while some are still missing at the time of filing this report.