NO fewer than twenty-four persons have been killed, again, in Benue state. The killing which occurred on Monday afternoon at a remote village, Omusu Edimoga in Okpokwu local government area of Benue state mostly affected women and children.
In the crisis, a man was said to have lost his two wives, while another lost his wife and two children.
It was an emotional state at St Mary Catholic hospital, Okpoga, headquarters of the council where victims of the attack were receiving treatment as a 5-year-old, identified as Loko who was shot at the buttock and lost his mother to the attack cried when he saw a crowd at his ward.
Conducting the governor and members of state council round the community, Chairman, Okpokwu local government area on Tuesday Olofu Ogwuche explained that the herdsmen had earlier reported to the council through police of the loss of their cows, some kilometres away from the affected village.
The chairman said he was already mediating when information of the attack on the community got to him.
Locals told our correspondent that the herdsmen invaded the community between 2 pm and 3 pm, some of the children killed were said to be returning from school.
Our correspondent learnt from locals that on a particular building of two rooms eight persons were killed among them a 90-year-old woman.
Incidentally, at the time governor and his entourage were been conducted round body of an eleven-year-old girl in her school uniform was just found by police.
‘it was on Monday that police came to inform me that herdsmen reported that people of Omusu Edimoga rustled their cows.’
“When I heard of this, I started meditating on this when I received information that herdsmen had invaded the community.”
“Immediately I got the report I rushed down, with the help of police we were able to recover seventeen corpses and took them to the mortuary at the general hospital in Okpoga.”
“This morning, when we came here, we recovered the body of six persons that have been taken to the mortuary, but as we were moving around now, the corpse of an eleven-year-old girl was just recovered, so in all. twenty-four persons dead, and some are still missing,” said the council Chairman.
At the time of the visit, the whole community has been deserted left for the presence of security personnel in the community.
Governor Ortom condemned the attack in its totality and accused fulanis of taken law into their hands.
According to Ortom, ‘the case of rustling,l had been reported instead of waiting for the outcome of police investigation they came and killed twenty-four people in a day, it is senseless.”
“People in this community do not understand cow language, so no one here rustles their cow, it is the same Fulani men that are rustling their fellow cows.”
“We can not continue with this senseless killings, that is why we came out with the law which is aimed to protect everyone”.
“When Sharia law was introduced in Zamfara state, no one violated the law, let security men do their job and arrest the people, I know that they have been overstretched.”
The governor, however, called on the people not to take the law into their hands.
Earlier, Benue state police command spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu had claimed that 16 persons were killed.
He said that the herdsmen were on reprisal when the people of Omusu ‘maimed’ their cows and two herdsmen were found missing in which one of them found dead.