Death toll rises to 24 in Benue state

Death toll after attack by suspected herdsmen in Okpokwu, Benue state has risen to 24.

The council chairman, Olofu Ogwuche, stated this while conducting state governor, Samuel Ortom, round the affected community on Tuesday, March 6.

The governor and members of state security council had visited Omusu Edimoga for an on-the-spot assessment.

Ogwuche said he was already mediating in the crisis when report got to him that the herdsmen had invaded the village and killed some people.

The herdsmen were said to have invaded the community between 2pm and 3pm on Monday, allegedly killing some children who were returning from school.

“It was on Monday that police came to inform me that herdsmen reported that people of Omusu Edimoga village had rustled their cows” Ogwuche said.

“When I heard this, I started mediating over the issue, during which I received information that herdsmen had invaded the community.

“Immediately I got the report, I rushed down, and with the help of the police, we were able to recover 17 corpses and took them to the mortuary at the General Hospital in Okpoga.

“This morning (Tuesday), when we came here, we recovered the body of six persons and they have also been taken to the mortuary. But as we were moving around, the corpse of an 11-year-old girl was also recovered. So, in all, 24 persons had died, and some are still missing,” the chairman said.

Senseless killings

Governor Ortom condemned the attack while calling on security agencies to ensure full enforcement of the anti-open grazing law passed by the Benue state House of Assembly.

“They reported the case of rustling, but instead of waiting for the outcome of Police investigation, they came and killed 24 people in a day. It is senseless," Ortom said.

“People in Omusu Edimoga community do not understand cow language; so, no one here rustles their cow, it is the same Fulani men that are rustling their fellows’ cows.

“We cannot continue with these senseless killings; that is why we came out with the law which is aimed to protect everyone.

“When Sharia law was introduced in Zamfara State, no one violated the law. Let security men do their job and arrest the people.”

The governor appealed to the people not to take the law into their hands.

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