No fewer than 50 persons have been feared killed during a four-day attack by gunmen who invaded some communities in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State.
Punch reports that the affected communities include Adam, Iyarinwa, Abamde Ityuluv, Waya Boagundu, Agura Ayaga, and Azege areas in Turan Council Ward, Kwande LGA.
The immediate past Chairman of the LGA, Tertsua Yarkbewan, while speaking to journalists on the phone on Monday, said over 50 people were killed during the attacks by gunmen.
He said, “My people are being massacred like goats.”
“What we have been hearing is that there are Fulani attacks, especially in Turan in the Kwande axis. Even places where there were no attacks before are witnessing attacks.
“Now, every day you hear that five or four people were killed, but you cannot have the exact number of those that have been killed because some corpses are still in the bush and have yet to be recovered.”
“But looking at the number of people killed in the past few days, I think the casualty figures should be over 50.”
The state police public relations officer, Catherine Anene, when contacted, debunked the casualty figure.
She said, “They have not given me the report, but it is not up to 50; in the initial report they gave me, there was a change of leadership in the division.”
“The new DPO just reported last Friday, and when I asked him to give me a situation report, he said the area is calm now.”
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the APC, Hyacinth Alia, in a statement issued by one of his media aides, Isaac Uzaan, condemned the attacks on communities in Kwande and Gwer-West by suspected herders.
He also expressed deep concern over the herdsmen’s invasion of communities in the state and the gruesome killing of citizens, adding that the situation had become the new normal in the state.
“The Benue APC governorship candidate faulted the resurgence of the brutal killings of Benue citizens, wondering why such was coming at the heels of the presidential and National Assembly elections that produced Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement said.
In his reaction, the acting Chairman of the PDP in the state, Isaac Teryila, condemned the attacks that resulted in the loss of lives, the destruction of property, including farms, and the consequent displacement of people from their lands in the state.
“Those attacks, if not halted by security forces, will further worsen the problem of low voter turnout at the coming governorship and state House of Assembly elections slated to hold on March 11, 2023, across the state.”