Seven people were on Friday killed by suspected herdsmen in a renewed attack on Chembe village in Ukemberegya/Tswarev ward of Gaambe-Tiev in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.
In a related manner, gunmen reportedly attacked Chibuak and Kigudu II communities in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Thursday and Friday, killing 20 people.
Also, no fewer than six persons lost their lives in a fatal road accident that occurred on the Ondo-Ore Expressway in Ondo State on Saturday.
Suspected herdsmen were reported to have invaded Tse-Chembe community about 7.40pm on Friday and opened fire on the villagers.
According to an eyewitness who pleaded anonymity, six male and one female villagers died on the spot.
“Twelve persons, including a nine-year-old boy, are receiving treatment at the hospital,” the local said.
It was gathered that the Chairman of Logo Local Government Area, Isaac Agber, visited the victims at the hospital in the early hours of Saturday and evacuated those with serious gunshot injuries to a tertiary health facility for better treatment.
Meanwhile, a local, simply identified as Terwase, told our correspondent that operatives of Operation Whirl Stroke later arrived in the village, chased the suspected herdsmen and killed two among them.
“I saw the troops moving the two corpses of the bandits towards Anyii in the Logo Local Government Area early on Saturday morning,” he said.
At the time of filing this report, it was gathered that OPWS operatives were still patrolling the area and combing the bush to arrest the fleeing bandits.
When contacted, the Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, refused to comment on the incident but referred our correspondent to the Defence Headquarters media office.
Following the attack, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom said his call followed repeated herdsmen attacks on different communities in the state in the last couple of months.
The statement read, “The latest of such attacks took place last night (Friday) at Tse-Chembe community near Anyiin in Logo Local Government Area, where the herders murdered seven persons in cold blood and left many others badly injured.
“Governor Ortom states that declaring the armed herders operating in Benue State as terrorists will end the wave of impunity and guarantee the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, the Benue Police Command said the attack on Logo had nothing to do with herders and farmers.
The command’s spokesperson, Catherine Anene, said the crisis was as a result of disagreement over mining proceeds.
She said, “It (the attack) was due to a disagreement over benefits from mining proceeds. It was gathered that a mining company paid an amount of money to Chembe community as compensation for the mining sites but members of the community disagreed over the rightful owners of the sites and this led to a fight that claimed seven lives.
“Investigation is still in progress.”
Similarly, gunmen reportedly killed 20 persons in Chibuak and Kigudu II, Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
In the attacks which took place from Thursday to Friday midnight, scores of villagers in the two communities were said to be missing.
It was also learnt that as the villagers of Kigudu II were preparing for the mass burial of their dead ones, the gunmen reportedly launched another attack on the community. But they were repelled by security operatives.
Although the police in the state had yet to confirm the attacks, a cleric at Damakasuwa Outstation, Rev Fr Aaron Tanko, who oversees the two communities, said nine people were killed in Chibuak while 11 were killed in Kigudu II.
He said, “The attacks took place on Thursday and Friday at midnight. Chibuak was attacked on Thursday and nine people were killed. They attacked Kigudu II on Friday night and killed 11 people.
“Some people are still missing so I cannot conclusively say this (20) is the casualty figure. Some of those killed were my parishioners; others were Protestants.
“We were preparing for the mass burial of our parishioners this morning (Saturday) in Kigudu II but we could not do it when (suspected) herdsmen attacked us again. But they were repelled by the security personnel. Nobody was killed or injured.
“We couldn’t even conduct proper mass burial; we just offered simple prayers and they were buried.
“There are villages where people cannot even go to their farms for fear of being killed by herdsmen. We appeal to the government to address these incessant attacks on our communities and killings by herdsmen.”
The Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, said he had yet to obtain details of the attacks.
“I will try and get in touch with our men there and get more details and then get back you,” he said. But he had yet to do as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, no fewer than six persons lost their lives in a fatal road accident that occurred on the Ondo-Ore Expressway on Saturday.
It was gathered that the crash involved a commercial Volkswagen Jetta car with the number plate Ondo REE 446 KP and an articulated truck with no number plate.
According to an eyewitness, the two vehicles had a head-on collision when the truck driver lost control of the vehicle and rammed into the car coming from the opposite direction.
He stated further that rescuers had to use an axe to cut the car into pieces before the victims could be removed from the wreckage of the car.
Confirming the incident, the Ondo Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Ahmed Hassan, said the deceased had been deposited at the morgue while the injured were receiving treatment at the hospital.