Thirty persons were yesterday killed during an auto crash and herdsmen attack in Benue State.
About 15 persons including students and children died and scores were injured yesterday when a truck conveying fuel rammed its head into a commercial bus at Wannune town of Tarka local government area of the state.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the auto crash occurred between noon and 1pm at Agudo community, in the frontage of a filling station in Wannune town, the headquarters of Tarka LGA. Wannune town is situated along the Makurdi-Gboko highway.
It was gathered that the tanker marked XD 577 JJN was heading from Gboko to Makurdi while the 14-seater commercial bus marked XA 495 KAL belonging to Pleasure Travels transport company, Makurdi, was conveying passengers from Makurdi to Jato Aka town of Kwande local government area.
All passengers in the 14-seater commercial bus including the driver and that of the tanker perished on the spot while the conductor of the fuel tanker reportedly survived but with serious injuries. It was gathered that some residents and passers-by who were running for safety got injured as a result of the chaos.
The accident caused heavy traffic on the highway for several hours and made commuters plying the road stranded before the men of the police arrived to the scene and evacuated the dead bodies from the vehicles. The corpses were deposited at the General Hospital morgue and NKST Mortuary, Wannune, while the belongings of the victims were carted away by the police.
An eyewitness, Tyough John Tyubee, a resident of the area, told LEADERSHIP that "the 14-seater bus of Pleasure Travels was heading towards Gboko with passengers among whom were students of Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and Benue State University (BSU); some of the victims are children".
According to Tyough, "The fuel tanker which was going towards Makurdi lost control due to over-speeding and rammed into the Pleasure Travels bus, smashing it and killing all the passengers."
The police public relations officer (PPRO), DSP Daniel Ezeala, confirmed the incident, saying that the divisional police officer in the area had taken charge of the situation and that investigation into the accident was ongoing.
Fulani Invasion: 15 killed in another fresh attack in Agatu
Meanwhile, another fresh attack on farmers in Oguchi community of Agatu local government area of Benue State by suspected Fulani herdsmen took a new turn yesterday as 15 persons were said to have been killed by the herdsmen.
Governor Gabriel Suswam, his deputy Chief Steven Lawani, secretary to the state government (SSG) David Salifu and commissioner of police Mr Adams Audu visited the area yesterday to assess the level of damage.
Barely two weeks ago, the Fulani herdsmen had attacked four villages in Agatu including Ejima 1 and 2, Ogumogbo and Ikpele and killed scores and destroyed farmlands and houses.
But the fresh attack yesterday, it was gathered, occurred between 4 and 5am when the residents of the community had not woken from sleep while others were said to be preparing for early morning church service. The Fulani invaders have been constantly attacking the Agatu villages for over a year now.
It was gathered that several people received various degrees of injury from gun shots while a large number of houses and other household items worth millions of naira were destroyed during the attack.
But Governor Suswam while addressing the residents yesterday at the St. Theresa's Catholic Church, Oshigbudu, in Agatu LGA assured the people of adequate security to enable those who fled their homes from previous attacks return home.
The governor described the incessant attacks as very unfortunate and unwarranted, stating that he was deeply pained by the development, especially as all efforts he had put in place to forestall the crisis has not ended the invasions. He advised the members of the affected communities to be alert to stop further attacks by the herders.