A new herdsmen attack on Ukohol and three other nearby communities in Benue State’s Guma Local Government Area, reportedly left 18 people, including children, dead.
A number of the victims were said to be traders at the village market where the marauders attacked.
The killers, suspected to be Herdsmen, allegedly entered the communities from neighboring Nasarawa State at around 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Commuters were attacked on the Makurdi-Lafia road near the Ortese Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camp by armed herders who had recently carried out numerous attacks on various locations in Guma, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The source said, “The attacks started around 4pm, they invaded the communities from neighbouring Nasarawa state and started shooting sporadically, killing anyone they came across.
“Several people were killed at the Ukohol market and other surrounding villages including children; and many others sustained injuries.
“As we speak the entire place is like a war zone, people are fleeing their homes and running to anywhere they can find safety since no one knows where they would attack next because the attack was unprovoked.”
The LGA Chairman, Dr. Michael Uba, confirmed the attack and said that 10 people were killed in the market and another 8 in three other communities.
He claimed that the herders, who showed up in all-black clothes, assaulted the market like commandos and began firing at the unwary vendors and their clients.
He said that “around 4pm to 5pm on Thursday my people at Ukohol village were attacked by armed herdsmen who killed about 10 people. The worst of it all is that they even killed children below the ages of two.
“They didn’t stop at that point but went to three other neighbouring villages/settlements and killed another eight making it a total of 18. The 10 persons where killed in the market while the eight were murdered in the villages when they were running back and trying to flee.”
The chairman praised security personnel for responding quickly to the distress cry from the besieged towns and claimed that without their swift action, a massacre in the afflicted communities would have occurred.
According to him, “f they had delayed, the causality figure would have been much more than what we have because it was a market day and they went there and started shooting at the people.
“What is happening now is that they are trying to destabilise and displace our people from their villages and settlements and thereafter occupy them and graze there at night.
“In this latest incident the armed herdsmen appeared in black attire and attacked in a commando fashion. No village was spared and the whole 10 council wards in Guma were affected.
“The development has worsened the IDPs situation in our area because the people are all fleeing their homes and looking for where to hide themselves. It is a sad day for me and my people.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene, also confirmed the development but said she was yet to get details of the incident.