Two police officers, two children, and three women were reportedly killed in separate attacks on Benue communities by suspected armed herdsmen.
Mr. Mamud Abubakar, the divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of the Gwer West Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State, was also reportedly killed.
A source in Naka, the Gwer West Headquarters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the murdered DPO and the two other police officers were ambushed and killed on Tuesday afternoon on the Makurdi-Naka road shortly after warning the military personnel at a checkpoint on the road of the presence of numerous armed herdsmen on the axis and their intention to attack the communities in Gwer West.
The source said, “After alerting the military personnel of the presence of a large number of armed herdsmen on that stretch of road, the military personnel were mobilising to move into the area while the DPO who was accompanied by two other policemen moved ahead slowly.
“But unknown to them, the armed herders had already moved close to a particular spot at Imande community near a bridge where women sell roasted yam to travellers on the road. They shot and killed the three of them and a farmer who was at the time returning from the farm.
“As we speak the people on that axis have all deserted their homes. Though before now many had packed away from their ancestral homes when it was noticed that armed herdsmen were moving in droves into communities on that axis.”
In the meantime, two children and three women were killed in a similar attack on the Udei and Torkula villages in the Guma LGA prior to the attack on the Makurdi-Naka route.
According to local sources, the marauders who attacked Udei on Monday at around 9 p.m. killed the two children, who were between the ages of 10 and 13, while also killing the three women in Torkula village at roughly the same time.
“They came shooting sporadically in Udei vllage around 9pm; the people scampered but unfortunately two children were gunned down by the terrorists.
“While that attack was going on, another group almost simultaneously invaded Torkula village where three women were also murdered. As I speak to you there is tension in Guma and people in neighbouring villages are gearing up for any eventuality.”
When contacted, the Chairman of Guma LGA, Dr. Mike Uba said he was yet to get full details of the development.
He said, “I have already sent my Security Secretary to the affected communities to ascertain what happened and the number of casualties.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene, who confirmed the attack and murder of the DPO in Gwer West LGA, also said she was yet to receive full details of the incident.