Critical Times News : Fresh killings in Benue are being sponsored, says Military

Published by / 27 Apr 2018 / No comments / ,

Fresh killings in Benue are being sponsored, says Military


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 .22 am 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.

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