18 January 2018

Nigeria: Five Killed in Benue in Fresh Herdsmen Attacks

More gruesome murders were recorded Wednesday when suspected herdsmen again unleashed terror on residents of Guma, Logo and Okpokwu Local Government Areas in Benue State, killing five persons in the process.

This is just as four female suicide bombers in Maiduguri, Borno State, detonated their bombs Wednesday, leading to the deaths of 12 persons and 65 others sustained injuries.

In the Benue incident, eyewitnesses said that there was an attack on Okpokwu Local Government Area following a disagreement between headsmen and farmers which led to the death of one person.

The state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, also confirmed the fresh killings in Guma and Logo where two persons, he said, were killed in each of the councils.

Ortom disclosed this Wednesday when he received members of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders' Forum at the Government House, Makurdi, the state capital.

The group had paid him a condolence visit at the Government House to commiserate with him over the killing of 73 persons by suspected herdsmen on new year day.

Ortom revealed that two women were killed in Guma and two other persons in Logo.

He stated that despite the presence of the Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris and 663 armed riot policemen deployed in the state, killings were still being perpetrated without any arrest.

The governor reiterated his call on the security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he said were still issuing threats to resist the implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in the state.

In addition to the Benue killings, another 12 person were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomb exploded around Muna Garage area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, officials said.

The explosion occurred at about 5:05 p.m., Abdulkadir Ibrahim, a spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said in a statement.

"Emergency Response Team (ERT) from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Borno State Emergency Management Agency (BOSEMA) and the Red Cross have responded to a suicide bombing incident which occurred around Muna Garage along Mafa Dikwa road in Maiduguri, Borno State.

"The team has responded to 65 injured people who were given first aid and transported to hospitals while 10 others lost their lives.

"Preliminary reports indicate that four female suicide bombers were responsible for the blast," Ibrahim said.

The police in Borno, however, said at least 12 persons were killed and 48 others injured in the attack.

The police also gave a different narrative on the bombings.

The Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, said a male suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at a crowded market killing himself and 10 other persons.

"One other suicide bomber out of panic detonated an explosive and blew himself alone into pieces," he said.

Wednesday's attack was the first suicide bomb attack in Maiduguri this year.

Chukwu said the wounded persons were evacuated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

The police commissioner called on the people to be vigilant and report suspicious persons in their communities to the security agencies.

"People should be vigilant because Boko Haram insurgents have not surrendered," he warned.

Fear of Violence Grips Plateau

Meanwhile, there was palpable fear Wednesday that two Plateau communities may be attacked soon following the alarm raised by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) over its members' stolen cows in the communities.

A statement by the state chairman of the association, Mr. Mohammad Nuru Abdullah, said their cows were stolen in Bassa and Riyom Local Government Areas of the state on Monday.

He said: "We are very sad that the Irigwe youth militias from Bassa LGA and Ganawuri in Riyom LGA, armed with sophisticated fire arms, on Monday 15th January 2018 attacked Fulani cattle rearers around Gidan Ado village in Ganawuri districts of Riyom LGA.

"The attackers beat our boy to coma and about 150 cows were rustled belonging to Fulani.

"Security reports revealed that some of the cows were found dead on the way around Mai Yanga village. On the same Monday night the Irigwe killers reattacked Fulani residents at Dangwal village in Ganawuri of Riyom and rustled about 200 cows.

"So far about 350 cows and about 60 sheep have been stolen by the militias."

He said the special task force on security in the state revealed that some of the cows had been recovered, but were yet to be handed over to his kinsmen.

Considering the recent violence in the state, Abdullah warned that no group should be seen to be provoking the other.

He said swift action must be taken to avoid a recurrence of attacks in the state.

His statement came on the heels of reports that a man was reportedly killed when armed men attacked Dundi-Maiyanga village in Kwall, Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State on Sunday night.

A source from the village said three men were attacked at night by the armed men who used machetes.

"The three men attacked are brothers; they were in their house when the attackers descended on them, killing one and injuring another, while the other one escaped unhurt."

Confirming the incident, Terna Tyopev, spokesman of the Plateau Police Command said: "From the report sent to us, unknown armed men attacked three people at Dundi-Maiyanga village in Kwall district on Sunday and killed one Mr. Sunday Lale, using machetes.

"Lale's brother, Ayuba, also suffered massive cuts to his body and is currently at the Catholic Hospital, Kwall," he said.

Tyopev said Sunday's corpse had been evacuated by personnel of the special task force, adding that an investigation was in progress.

He also urged the affected community to be calm and avoid the temptation to attack people they suspect might have been responsible for the incident.

Coercion for Cattle Colonies

In a related development, the Ondo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Wednesday alleged that state governors were being coerced into accepting the establishment of grazing reserves or colonies in their states, despite popular opinion against the federal government's proposal.

The Chairman of CAN in Ondo, Reverend Ayo Oladapo, made the allegation in Akure, the state capital, in his speech at a prayer summit organised to round off the 2018 Universal Week of Prayers.

Oladapo said it was disturbing that the federal government remained "deaf and dumb" to the crying and wailing of the people on the massacre of not less than 70 people in Benue State by herdsmen.

He said it was a surprise that the federal government had not deemed it fit to fly the nation's flag at half mast to mourn the innocent lives that were cut short by herdsmen, while all that was being done were recommendations that are inimical to the well being of the people.

"The federal government seems deaf and dumb to the cries and agony of the people, especially the killings by herdsmen and many religious attacks in the Middle Belt and other states of this nation.

"The government is using its machinery to suppress our people from defending themselves, this is injustice and corruption. Seventy-three caskets of our brethren in Benue were carried by trucks for mass burial in one day and the national flag did not fly at half mast.

"Most of our state governments are lame and helpless in this situation. They are been coerced to accept grazing colonies in their states," he said.

The CAN chairman advised the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, not to accept the proposal.

"God forbid, this will not see the light of day; the Lord will fight for us. In Ondo State, we pray this will never happen.

"We pray God will give our government the boldness to say no to this and the courage to defend the people of the state from the hands of the oppressors," he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the preacher, Pastor Sunday Popoola of the Word Communication Ministries, Ibadan, said the Church of God condemned the killings and the sinful silence of the authorities.

He said the head of the nation was everyone's father and should defend all citizens.

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