From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has dispelled claims by some groups that over 70 persons have been killed in Konshisha local government area of the State during the military invasion.
It would be recalled that earlier on Friday, a group known as Shangev-Tiev Assembly had addressed a press conference where it alleged that 70 person wwere killed and more than 100 people were still missing as a result of the invasion.
The group, while condemning in strong terms, the killing of some soldiers in the area, also condemned the invasion which it noted, had caused humanitarian situation in the LGA.
But swiftly reacting to the claim, Governor Ortom told newsmen at a press conference in Government House that he was not aware of such number of deaths, insisting that only eight persons lost their lives.
The Governor listed those that were killed to include two bandits who had exchanged fire with the soldiers as well as a crippled man whose house was destroyed and it collapses on him while another was a middle aged person who was running and in the process she fell and died in addition to four others.
“That is the report I got from the chairman. So, I am taking aback to hear that an unknown group held a press conference and saad 70 people were killed.
“I wish to call on the people to restrain themselves from making unguarded and unverified statement. This will not help matter. You will only succeed in aggravating the matter. You will only succeed in pouring petrol on an existing fire and you know the implications.
“You know that if the security men, especially the soldiers were not here, we will not be here today. Herdsmen, local bandits would have consumed us.
“I am on top of the situation and monitoring it. I have not slept for the past three days ensuring several interventions. So, we do not want any situation that will amplify the one we already have. If anyone has any evidence contrary to what the chairman told me, he should bring it out instead of making inflamatory statement”, the Governor stated