By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Suspected herdsmen stormed Gbemacha council ward in Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State, killing an elderly man and three others in a midnight raid.
Vanguard gathered from an eyewitness that the herdsmen had, in the last few weeks, moved into the community with cows, which destroyed several cassava farms.
According to the witness, “the development did not go down well with youths of the area, who tried to resist them but were equally countered by the armed herdsmen who besieged the community in their numbers and sacked the locals from their homes.”
Speaking on the issue in Makurdi, Special Adviser to the State Governor on Bureau for Lands and Survey, Professor Jonathan Uever, who hails from the area, said the attack was unprovoked.
Uever said: “They were not provoked in any way. From what I gathered from my people in the last three days, the herdsmen stormed Gbemacha council ward and everybody ran for their lives.
“They took over our community and broke into people’s houses, destroyed food barns and whatever food they saw were burnt. They hid near a popular well in the community, where they slaughtered an elderly man and three others.
“I am in touch with the Local Government Sole Administrator. I also learned yesterday that the Sole Administrator had mobilised security personnel and the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, to Abinsi area, where the invaders reportedly crossed from into the community.”
The Adviser urged the State House of Assembly to heed the appealed of the State Executive Council by passing into law the Anti-Open Grazing Bill pending before it.
Contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Moses Yamu, who confirmed the attack and deaths, said it was a reprisal attack.
He said: “The attack was as a result of the alleged killing of a herdsman in the commu-nity. As I speak with you, our men are in the community to maintain the peace and stem any escalation of the crisis.”