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Protests In Benue State As Death Toll From Armed Herdsmen Attacks Hit 51

The number of people killed in the armed herdsmen attack on Umogidi village in Benue state’s Otukpo Local Government Area, LGA, Enetekpa Adoka region, has now reached 51.

Angry youths from the nearby Apa LGA, where numerous people, including a traditional leader in the Ugbobi village, were also killed by the marauders, have now taken over the busy Otukpo-Oweto-Abuja road to protest the bloodshed and demand that the government step in.

Five more dead were found in the besieged community between Thursday and Friday morning, bringing the total number of casualties in the Umogidi raid from the initial 46 to 51.

The increase in the death toll was confirmed by the Chairman of Otukpo LGA, Mr. Bako Ejeh who said after the initial 46, four more corpses were recovered yesterday while another corpse was found Friday morning.

The Chairman who lost his 33 year old son in the attack disclosed that a missing woman was also found alive Friday morning.

According to Vanguard, he said “Luckily, the woman who was missing initially was discovered alive this morning. But the death toll rose to 51 after one corpse was recovered this morning.

“The situation is however calm because security personnel have been sent in and there is no further problem. But we are appealing to government to come to our aid. Government should give us support so that we do not experience a repeat of the attack.

“This morning Governor Samuel Ortom sent his Deputy, Benson Abounu to come and commiserate with us and encourage us.

“The Federal Government must live to its responsibilities, we cannot fold our hands and watch these Fulani herdsmen come and take over our land. Everybody needs to rise up and nip it in the bud. We cannot understand where the country is headed.

“Where do the Fulani want us to go, they cannot chase us out of our ancestral homes. My own son was also killed by the invaders, what is our sin?”

Meanwhile, one of the leaders in Apa LGA, Abba Ocholi who was trapped on the Otukpo-Oweto-Abuja when the youths of Apa LGA took over the busy road Friday morning said he had to abandon his car and made his way to his residence on foot.

He said “this morning our angry youths mounted a roadblock at Ugbokpo, Apa Local Government Headquarters. I ran into them and in fact I abandoned my vehicle there.

“All the vehicles from Abuja and those from the East were all trapped there and no one could move for several hours. But two teams of soldiers came in from Makurdi and the youths were prevailed upon to end the protest. So they finally agreed to vacate the road.

“It is unfortunate that Fulanis are doing this in our communities, there is no reason whatsoever for the killings.
Our people cannot go to the farms and they cannot do anything now, if they see anyone they kill and the government is not doing anything.

“If this does not stop the youths will not take it kindly even with our political leaders. They are killing and raping our women, it is terrible. Strangely, these Fulanis do not move with their wives, they only move with cows and guns. So it is a serious issue”.

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Security Matters, Col. Paul Hemba(retd.) confirmed that security had been beefed up in the affected communities to ensure the restoration of peace and calm in the areas.

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