Two elderly men have been tortured to death by a mob action following witchcraft allegations levelled against them in the Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
Witnesses said the deceased victims, Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja, were beaten by the mob and dragged with a rope on the ground around their vicinity in Gwer East until they died.
A witness who spoke on the condition of anonymity told our correspondent that the incident happened on September 28 after one David Terseer Nongobo, a native of Mbaaku Mbasombo in the same Gwer East slumped while working on the farm.
Nongobo who recently completed his secondary education according to the witness was reportedly rushed to the village hospital where the medics confirmed him dead.
The witness narrated further that when the news of the young school leaver broke in his community, some youths allegedly mobilised themselves to the home of the two elderly men; Ugbu and Shaaja who are relatives of the dead boy and accused them of killing him through witchcraft.
The eyewitness recounted, “And that was how they started beating and cutting the two elderly men with cutlasses and axes. They even tied a rope around their necks and dragged them until they died.
The victims of the jungle justice kept screaming in their native Tiv dialect that they didn’t have a hand in the young man’s death but the mob didn’t listen to them.
“Even some members of the tortured victims’ families including their children tried to rescue them while they were being unjustly treated to various dehumanisation but their attempts were resisted.
The source continued, “The men eventually died and the mob ensured that no one went close to their dead bodies which were left unattended until the next day that their corpses were taken to the morgue.”
Our corrrespondent reports that cases involving the killings of some people over witchcraft allegations are gradually on the increase in the state as a similar incident happened recently in Shangev Tiev community of Konshisha LGA of the state.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Benue Command, SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident and said that the suspects are currently on the run.
Anene said, “That incident is confirmed. Suspects are on the run. The boy died mysteriously on the farm so some youths said it was his father and the uncle that killed him through witchcraft.
“They beat up these two men until they died alleging that they killed the boy through witchcraft. It has become an issue in Benue. The people need to be enlightened. In the villages, those things happen and we have been talking to them and have charged so many people to court.
“I’m trying to do a programme about that on radio and television so that they will get to know more; that there is room for investigating such cases and establishing the cause of death not for them to just assume that it is witchcraft. There are lots of factors which could lead to deaths; we have such cases of ‘witchcraft allegations’ in court.”