Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has said at least 134 people have been killed by armed invaders within five days in separate attacks on villages in Otukpo, Apa and Guma local government areas of the state.
Our correspondent reports that the death toll of Wednesday’s attack on Umogidi village in Otukpo LGA rose to 52 from the initial 46 recorded on the spot. Three people had been killed in the same village a day before the massacre.
Also, the death toll from the Friday night attack on Ngban IDP camp in Guma LGA rose from 36 to 38 as of Sunday while other parts of the local government recorded unspecified numbers of deaths caused by the armed men within the five days.
Similarly, in Apa LGA, 47 people were reportedly killed on April 3 in different villages, including the Ikobi community, where a traditional ruler was killed along with some of his subjects.
Ortom, who spoke to journalists when he visited over 36 injured victims, mainly women and children, of Ngban attack at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), described the attacks as, “heinous and cowardly.”
He, however, appealed to the community and its leaders to continue to be law abiding and be vigilant at all times so as to be able to wade off the assailants.
The governor reiterated his call on President Muhammadu Buhari to match words with action by deploying more troops to halt the senseless killings.
Earlier, the Mue Ter Ihyarev, who also spoke on behalf of Ter Guma, HRH Dennis Shemberga, expressed deep shock over the unprovoked killing of his subjects by the armed invaders.
He appealed to the president to send more troops in the troubled spots to end the killings.
MACBAN condemns Benue killings
Meanwhile, the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Benue has condemned the killings in the state.
The state secretary of MACBAN, Ibrahim Galma, who spoke on behalf of the association, said the killings were perpetrated by bad elements that were bent on destabilising the peace of the state.
He called on President Muhammadu to ensure that security agents apprehend the killers of Benue people so that the victims would get justice.
Galma said, “We condemn the attacks in totality. We, the MACBAN are working hard together with All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state as well as security agencies to make sure that there is peace and harmony restored in the state. But, the bad element are still causing problem in the state.
“We condole with the government of Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom, all stakeholders in the state and families of the victims. We feel pained. We feel pain like they feel and we mourn with them.
He added, “At whatever cost, the security should do their best to find the perpetrators so that the world will know the truth.
“We are not in support of the killings. We are for peace and we hope to give the new administration in the state maximum support so that peace will return to the state.”
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