For the second consecutive time in two months, the Benue State Government has said that it will organise a mass burial on Friday for the latest victims of suspected herdsmen attacks in the state.
Fourteen of the victims were women while two were children.
The attackers had invaded the community after they reportedly lost their cattle and two herdsmen.
Last January, the state buried 73 persons who were allegedly killed by herdsmen in two local government areas.
The governor, who was adamant that the killers must be apprehended, made the call during an assessment tour of Omusu when he visited the village Tuesday to ascertain the level of destruction and provide immediate relief for the displaced.
Ortom described the attack as unfortunate, saying such barbaric acts were unacceptable in the 21st century.
He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he said were sponsoring the Fulani herdsmen militia and still moving freely in Abuja and giving directives to the mercenaries.
While directing the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to immediately provide relief materials for the displaced persons, Ortom appealed to the community not to embark on reprisals, stressing that the security agencies had been mobilised to forestall further attacks on the community.
The governor visited St. Mary’s Hospital, Okpokwu, where the injured were being treated and proceeded to the general hospital in the town where the bodies of dead victims had been deposited.
The governor had initially announced that 24 were killed in the Monday attack, only to get to the hospital where another three victims had died from their injuries.
Another two bodies were also discovered in the village, bringing the death toll to 29.
Ortom also paid a condolence visit to Mr Abba Moro, a former interior minister who lost his first wife recently.
He directed that arrangements be made for the mass burial of the victims on Friday.
Moro condemned the killings, just as he called on the federal government to beef up security in the area.
He commended the state government for its proactive measures by visiting the area to console the people.
In his reaction, the Deputy Speaker of the Benue House of Assembly, Hon. Okefe Ejimbi, commended Ortom and security agencies for securing the area, even as he condemned the killing of innocent people.
The state Police Command said the trouble started after two herdsmen were declared missing on Monday at about 7.30 a.m.
Some irate youths from Omusu were said to have engaged the herdsmen in a fight, during which some of their cows were rustled.
Subsequently, a peace meeting was convened by the chairman of the local government area, Mr. Olofu Ogwuche, and the head of the Fulani community in the area, while the police were mandated to look for the missing herdsmen.
However, before the peace initiative was concluded, one of the herdsmen was reportedly found dead, resulting in the reprisal later in the day.