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Over 492 People Murdered By Fulani Herdsmen In Benue So Far In 2018 – Gov. Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, says over 492 people have been killed by herdsmen since January 2018.

Speaking at the funeral mass and interment of Mbalom martyrs, Ortorm expressed concern that the number may continue to rise should the Federal Government fail to act decisively to curtail the situation.

The Governor, who noted that sponsors of the killer herdsmen are known to his government, explained that the root cause of the incessant killings is the anti-grazing law.

He said that upon the passage of the anti-grazing bill into law, the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association vowed to unleash terror in the state.

Ortom frowned at the way the Federal Government is treating the Miyetti Allah with kid gloves like they are above the law.

He called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the leadership of the group.

The Benue Governor lamented that since the beginning of 2018, the state has held three mass burials arising from the senseless killings by herdsmen.

He called on the Federal Government to emulate other countries that have embraced animal husbandry as the modern way of ranching.

Governor Ortorm appealed to people of the state not to take laws into their hands.      (New Telegraph)

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Fulani Herdsmen Kill Five Farmers, Five Soldiers, Kidnap Two Others In Benue |RN

By Cephas Iorhemen, MAKURDI

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A deadly clash between armed Fulani herdsmen and men of the Nigerian Army’s newly formed “Operation Whirl-Stroke” last Sunday night in Logo local government area of Benue state left at least five soldiers dead.

The attackers also set ablaze the army patrol vehicle during the clash which saw hordes of local inhabitants mainly women, children and the older people deserting their communities.

Also in the wee hours of yesterday (Monday) the Fulani militia group numbering more than 50, invaded the Mchia settlement in the local government area and killed five farmers.

Mchia is few kilometres away from Anyiin town, the homestead of former Governor Gabriel Suswam.

The soldiers were said to have arrived the scene of the attack hours after the operation had been executed. Corpses of the slain officers were reportedly moved to the morgue in Anyiin, headquarters of the local government.

New Telegraph gathered that the killing of the soldiers came following an attempt by the army personnel to foil a plot by the assailants to attack Logo village at Tseke, a border community between Taraba and Benue States in Mbawar kindred of Gaambe-Tiev in the area.

The invaders were reported to have abducted two officers of the Nigerian Army and taken to an unknown destination. Many people are reported to have been seriously wounded in the twin attacks with several houses also burnt.

Sources in the area told journalists that “the community is a Tiv/Jukun settlement and it is a border community where you can hardly draw a borderline between Benue and Taraba states, and so far corpses of two soldiers have been recovered and their patrol vehicle burnt”.

“We also heard that some of the soldiers were still unaccounted for which means that the casualty figure might be higher when the true picture of the attack becomes clearer”.

The latest attack and killing came less than 24 hours after six persons, among them, some teachers of Makurdi Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) were gruesomely killed by Fulani herdsmen near Ikpayongo, Gwer local government area of the state.

The teachers, it was gathered reportedly went to the area last Wednesday to inspect some farmland for rice cultivation under the umbrella of a cooperative society but were ambushed by the armed herdsmen who immediately opened fire on them and killed all of them.

Four of the teachers managed to escape with wounds while six others were not so lucky as they were said to have been killed and their bodies dismembered by the herdsmen.

Chairman of Logo local government area, Mr. Richard Nyajo who confirmed the killing of the soldiers to journalists, explained that the incident which happened between 7 am and 8 am on Sunday night claimed the life of one soldier on the spot while the other soldier was critically injured and might not make it.

“It happened in Logo local government area. I gave them a base at Gov in Mbagegh Council ward of Logo local government. So in the course of carrying out their peacekeeping operation, they went into the bush and I don’t know whether the herdsmen heard about them, they came behind and entangled them and opened fire on them.

“They burnt one of their patrol vehicles, injured some of them, took some alive and killed one person but the second person was seriously injured and might not make it alive because he was in bad shape”.

“Though one was said to be missing we hope to get a clearer picture of the situation including the actual number of deaths because when an attack scatter a group of people like it happened and some are missing you cannot just conclude on the casualty figure”.

“But surely some were killed and some were abducted. Though many among those that were missing escaped alive”.

Efforts by New Telegraph to get the operational base of the Operation Whirl Stroke to confirm the report were not successful as the person who picked the call declined to comment on the matter.  (New Telegraph)

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Herdsmen Killings: 80,450 Children, 2,442 Pregnant Women Languish In Benue IDP Camps – SEMA

By Cephas Iorhemen, MAKURDI

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No fewer than 80, 450 children including those of school age and about 2, 442 pregnant women are now languishing in seven Internally Displaced Person camps in Benue State, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Emmanuel Shior has said.

Mr Shior disclosed this while speaking at the Abagena IDP camp located along Makurdi-Lafia road to intimate Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on the state of the camps in the state.

The SEMA helmsman also announced that a total of 2, 766 nursing mothers and over 1, 247 disabled persons were also going through severe hardships and appealed to the federal government to come to their aid through the provision of assorted relief materials to cushion the effect of their suffering IDPs.

He said a total of 175, 070 IDPs including the aged people as well as male and female children have not been spared and live in the squalid environment, urging the government to expedite action for immediate return of the displaced back home to start farming activities.

Mr Shior lamented that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has not given the state the required support through the supply of relief items to help address the plight of the victims.

“NEMA came briefly but has not given us the support that we hope would come from them, other individuals have also supported the state government but looking at the huge humanitarian problem, the efforts of government and other individual and organisations are not enough”.

Governor Samuel Ortom said the IDPs were really traumatised since the last four months that the camps were opened, adding that most of them have died while in camp due to hardship.

He also bemoaned the level of support given the state government by NEMA, adding that 69 IDPs have delivered babies while in the camp.

“You can really see from the faces of the IDPs here (at Abagena camp) that they are really traumatised for four months, you know, been in this kind of environment is not easy for any human being. We have lost some IDPs here but thank God we have about 69 of them that have delivered in this camp under this condition”.

Governor Ortom thanked the federal government for the deployment of additional security agencies to flash points to fight the mercenaries and expressed optimism that the state will not witness killings again.  (New Telegraph)

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Benue Mass Killings: Killer Fulani Herdsmen Are Sponsored, Says Military

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Olusola Fabiyi, Olaleye Aluko  and John Charles

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, said on Thursday that the fresh rounds of killings in Benue State were being sponsored.

It added that the military would, however, soon apprehend both the killer herdsmen and their sponsors.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, insisting that the military would not support any side in the violence that had been going on in Benue State.

Recalled that herdsmen, who blocked Gbeji-Anyinn Road in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, killed a soldier and a passerby on Monday.

On Tuesday, suspected herdsmen invaded a church in Mbalon in Gwer-East Local Area of the state and killed two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers.

On Wednesday, there was a report that 22 people were killed when herdsmen attacked Daudu, in the Guma area of the state.

Also, on Thursday, herdsmen invaded Africa Church in Mbamondo clan of Ukemberagya Gaambe-Tiev, in the Logo Local Government Area, and killed seven internally displaced persons.

Since the killings had become a daily affair, The PUNCH asked the Defence spokesman if troops in Benue State were overwhelmed and whether the military would deploy additional troops in the state.

Agim said, “The military is strategising on how to go after the herdsmen and their sponsors. We will get both the herdsmen and their sponsors.

“We want to say this to the killers and their sponsors that the military is coming for them. We are going to get both the killers and their sponsors very soon.

“The military is continuing with all its operations in the areas. Nigerians will soon see a change of approach in our operations.”

The Defence’s spokesman said the military had been recovering guns and other weapons from herdsmen and locals in several areas of Benue and Taraba states, adding that the military would not take sides.

Agim said, “Some of the weapons we recovered were seized from the herdsmen. Others are not from the herdsmen. The Dane guns we seized were not from the herdsmen. The military cannot go into an environment to support any side.

“We seized weapons from everyone who had weapons. Some of the weapons were also obtained during engagements with these criminals.

The PUNCH gathered that the IDPs, who were killed on Thursday morning, took refuge in the African Church in Mbamondo clan of Ukemberagya Gaambe-Tiev.

One of our correspondents gathered that some herdsmen invaded the area and attacked those who slept inside the church.

Seven people were reportedly killed, while several others were injured in the attack.

A community leader and a former Special Assistant to a former governor of the state, Joseph Anawah, said, “The terrorists arrived at the area about 12.22am and started shooting continuously at refugees, who were sleeping in the church and primary school buildings.

“By the time they left, many buildings had been  burnt down while scores sustained gunshot and machete injuries.”

“The marauders after they killed the people, proceeded to Zaki Biam-Wukari Road, mounted roadblocks and began to collect motorcycles and other valuables from travellers,” Anawah said.

The Chairman of the Logo Local Government Area, Richard Nyajor, confirmed the attack by the herdsmen on the Mbamondo clan.

He said, “The casualties may be high, but we have recovered about seven corpses so far and we are searching for more. These killers have taken over our areas and now we are now living at the mercy of God.

“The Federal Government should intensify efforts and bring these mindless killings to an end.”

Efforts to get the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, on the telephone, proved abortive as the calls rang out.

Secondus faults President’s Bauchi visit

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, on Thursday, condemned President Muhammadu Buhari for not visiting Benue State to commiserate with the people and the Catholic Church that lost two priests and 17 other worshippers to an attack by herdsmen.

He described the President’s decision to embark on a two-day visit to Bauchi State instead as the height of insensitivity.

Secondus said while the nation and the Christian community globally mourned the death of the two priests, the President decided to jump into an aircraft to Bauchi State on a two-day visit without going to the venue of the murder in Benue State to see things for himself as the Commander-in-Chief.

Secondus said the action portrayed the Presidents as lacking emotion.

The PDP boss said in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr Ike Abonyi, on Thursday that the President’s action was a  clear show of arrogance, wondering why the needless bloodletting in Benue State should not attract any feeling from him.

He said, “There is no time the people need a show of empathy and concern more than when they are in mourning mood as is the case with the people of Benue State.

“It is this show of insensitivity by the President that, perhaps, influenced the behaviour of military operatives and other security agencies, who have not made any appreciable impact to stem the ugly situation in Benue State. They may have been interpreting the President’s indifference as lack of interest in the callous bloodletting in the state.

“This lack of concern perhaps explains why there has been no arrest and prosecution of these hoodlums since January 2018, when the latest onslaught on the people of Benue began.”

Secondus reminded the President that as a leader, he should see himself as the father of all by giving equal treatment to all matters affecting the people irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political inclinations.

The PDP leader urged the President to eschew nepotism. (Punch)

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Fresh Attack: Fulani Herdsmen Raid Benue Communities, Kill 10 |RN

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John Charles

Some suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded six communities in Saghev council ward of the Guma Local Government Area of Benue State where 10 persons were reportedly killed.

The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attacks started in the late hours of Friday till the early hours of Saturday.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the communities attacked included Tse Abi, Tse Ginde, Tse Peviv, Tse Ikyo, Agenke and Gbenke.

The suspected Fulani herdsmen were said to have stormed the villages in military uniform, shooting sporadically and setting houses ablaze.

One of the residents said, “This is the second time since yesterday (Friday) these herdsmen would attack these villages. As I speak with you, 10 dead bodies have been recovered. As of 2.04pm; gunshots could still be heard, while several houses were burnt down.”

The attacks occurred barely two days after the state Acting Governor, Benson Abounu, raised the alarm of planned attacks on five communities in the state.

The state government, however, urged the authorities concerned to live up to their responsibilities to avert the planned attacks on Benue.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja, during an interview with our correspondent, said after the state security council received the report of the planned attacks, the officials immediately swung into action by taking a critical look at the report and came to the conclusion that there was a need for the reinforcement of all the security apparatus in the state.

He said, “The security reports further revealed that some of the mercenaries were camped in Rukubi in Nasarawa State, close to Benue, where they have earmarked five different locations in Benue State to launch possible attacks simultaneously.

“We have written to the Inspector-General of Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja. We have also informed the Chiefs of Army Staff, Air Staff and the Director-General, Department of State Services and other relevant security agencies.

“We believe that they will act fast to chase these mercenaries out of our state and also help to end the herdsmen killings in the state.”

The commissioner urged the communities to protect themselves by cooperating and collaborating with all the relevant security agencies in information sharing and local intelligence gathering.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Yamu, said he had yet to be briefed on the attacks.  He promised to respond after consulting with the necessary local authorities.  (Punch)

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Military: 13 Soldiers Killed During Operation ‘Cat Race’ 183 Fulani Herdsmen Arrested

By Emmanuel Onani, Abuja 

 

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The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said thirteen soldiers were killed during a special operation in five states code-named “Operation Ayem Akpatuma.

This was as the DHQ accused the Taraba State Government of incitement against the military.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Army had, in the wake of mindless killings in Benue, Tarana, Nasarawa and two other states, initiated an exercise, with a view to restoring security and order to the troubled areas.

Though mixed reactions had trailed the special operation, the DHQ has said that 13 soldiers lost their lives in the course of the exercise.

Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. John Agim, who made the disclosure at a briefing in Abuja, further noted that a total of 147 suspected herdsmen were arrested within the period under review.

Agim added that 13 soldiers sustained varying degrees of injuries.

“During the exercise, we lost some of ‎our dear colleagues. 13 soldiers were killed in action,‎ while 7 soldiers were wounded in action,

“We also had our equipment destroyed during the Operation. A total of 183 criminals were arrested in Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in Benue and Taraba States for various offences. In Benue State, 147 herdsmen, 6 cultists, 5 rustlers and 6 armed bandits were arrested, while 15 were
arrested in Taraba state.

“In 1 Division Area of Responsibility, a total of 13 bandits were arrested. All the arrested suspects have been handed over to the Nigeria Police for further action”, Agim said.

On recoveries made, the DAPR said: “Several arms and ammunition were recovered during Exercise Ayem Akpatuma. In Benue State, 1 AK 47 rifle, 1 FN rifle, 3 AK 47 Magazine, 9 rounds of 7.62mm special, 23 round of 7.62mm NATO, 13 Dane guns, 38 machetes, several spears/axes and assorted charms were recovered. Also, 18 motorcycle and 15 handsets were recovered in Benue State.

“In Taraba State, 4 AK 47 riffles With 3 magazines, 96 rounds of 7.62mm special, 8 rounds of 9mm, and 19 locally-made guns were recovered. Others include 5 locally made pistols, one Shotgun and 27 live cartridges.”.

On the allegation of incitement against the Taraba State Government, Agim said: ” Regrettably, during the conduct of ‎Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, some civil authorities, especially in Taraba State, did not accord the military the desired cooperation.

“For instance, the Chairman of Takum Local Government Area in Taraba State (allegedly) did not cooperate with 93 ‎Battalion, instead portrayed the military in a bad light to the locals.

“His actions before and during Exercise Ayem Akpatuma were clearly anti-military and he incited his people on many occasions to resist and confront the military.”                  (New Telegraph)

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Ten Killed, Many Injured By Fulani Herdsmen Attack In Benue Communities |RN

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

No fewer than 10 persons were allegedly killed Wednesday by Fulani herdsmen in Mbakyondo, Mbakpa and Sengaev communities in the Agagbe district of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.

Sources from the area told newsmen that the invading herdsmen stormed the communities at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday and started shooting sporadically in all directions.

Many villagers are said to have been killed in their sleep, with several others injured in the attack, as several houses were razed by the invading herdsmen.

Daily Sun gathered that the invasion may not be unconnected with the alleged clash between some youths in Mbakpa community and some Fulani herdsmen in the area early in the week.

Our correspondent gathered that during the clash between the youths and the herdsmen, one Fulani herder was missing, the development leading to a mass exodus of locals from the community for fear of reprisals.

Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, Commissioner of Police in the state, Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the clash between the youths and the herdsmen in Mbakpa Community, said the State Police Command was already in talks with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the body of herders on the matter.

“Gwer West Local Government in Mbakpa community woke up to a report that the youths in that community led an attack on some herdsmen in that area. There is now an exodus of members of that community into Naka town for fear of a reprisal attack,” Owoseni stated. 

“We are still talking with leaders of herdsmen in that area to ascertain the level of casualty. We heard that one of the herdsmen is missing and we immediately got in touch with the leadership of MACBAN and the body of herders in order to douse and prevent an escalation of anything that could come as a reprisal.”

The Police Commissioner, warning that his Command would not tolerate any form of reprisal, urged the general public to report any form of security threat in their areas to security agencies rather than taking laws into their hands.

However, efforts by our correspondent to get the Commissioner to confirm the Wednesday attacks failed, as a text message sent to his phone was yet to be responded to at the time of filing this report.    (The Sun)

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