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16 killed in fresh attack on Benue community

At least 16 people have been reportedly killed in a fresh attack by armed invaders on Wandor community of Mbakyor, Mbalom District in Gwer East…

At least 16 people have been reportedly killed in a fresh attack by armed invaders on Wandor community of Mbakyor, Mbalom District in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.

Villagers told our correspondent on the telephone that the attack happened on Thursday night and that 16 corpses had been recovered so far while many residents were still missing.

The villagers said as of Friday morning, bereaved youths of the affected community took custody of the bodies while awaiting security intervention.

They also said that 11 settlements, including Tse- Agernor, Tse- Najime, Tse- Wandor, Wandor market square, Tse-Ate, Tse-Anyol, Tse- Abagi, Tse-Ifian, Tse- Ukombor, Tse- Girgi Akwaya, Tse- Tion Ukpa and Tse- Abuur were were set ablaze by the armed invaders.

Those whose bodies had been found were identified as Peter Tion, Nyityo Kyoon, Iorfa Ukombor, Doopinen Awua, Tyoshaa Mkaanem, Asan Ate, Asough Ate, Terzungwe Asoo Ate and MWO Mbatsavbun Gbatar (rtd).

Others are: John Ndahagh Tyohemba, Tertsea Ukombor, Akuma Kpenge, Abume Kpenge, Igba Byuan, Master Ter Byuan, Terzungwe Aulugh and a little boy whose name was not yet known at the time of this report.

A villager, who witnessed the attack, said search was ongoing in the bushes to recover bodies of missing persons believed to have been killed.

The villager who preferred anonymity, said, “They (attackers) came through Mbasombo into our village. There is a herders’ settlement close to the boundary between Ihyrav and Ayar and the Alhaji who we believed caused this attack. We earlier arrested three of his boys and handed them over to the police at Aliade. They were later released.

“The retired WO2 military officer and community security adviser who reported the case was among those killed. They took us by surprise. They came around 7pm yesterday (Thursday) numbering over 40, with guns and cutlasses.

“The operation lasted over three hours. As I’m talking to you now, over 50 houses are burnt. One of the victims was burnt in his house.”

Contacted, the police spokesperson for Benue Command, SP Catherine Anene, said she could not give exact account of the incident until the Commissioner of Police, who had gone to the scene of the incident, returned.

In the same vein, the Deputy Governor of the state, Barr. Sam Ode, was said to have travelled to the affected community for on-the-spot assessment at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Masev Development Association (MDA) of Gwer people has expressed shock over the brutal murder of their people and the destruction of over 50 houses by the attackers.

President General worldwide, Prof. Vearumun Tarhule, in a statement made available to journalists on Friday morning by the organisation’s Media Adviser, Dr. David Mtswenem, regretted the unfortunate incident, saying it was the third attack on the Mbalom people.

He recalled that similar attacks occurred in 2014 at Agana, Mbatsada, and on April 24, 2018, the second attack happened during which two Catholic priest – Reverend Father Joseph Gor and Reverend Father Felix Tyolaha alongside 17 parishioners – were killed while observing an early morning Mass at St. Ignatius Quasi Parish in Ayar-Mbalom in Ubuluku Kindred.

The association expressed bewilderment at the continuous vulnerability of innocent citizens to attacks by bandits, stressing their repeated calls to the government authorities for the protection of people’s lives and property, which they alleged had sadly been unheeded.

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