8 February 2018

Nigeria: Fresh Attacks Reported in Benue Communities

Photo: Premium Times

Armed persons on Thursday night attacked villages around Anyiin, a major town in Logo Local Government Area, LGA, that serves as a base for special forces and has one of the biggest IDP camps.

Residents in Anyiin reported heavy gunshots from attacks in nearby villages Thursday night.

At least five persons were in critical condition from gunshot wounds in the attacks by suspected herdsmen, according to residents accounts to PREMIUM TIMES.

Four residents informed PREMIUM TIMES in separate exchanges that residents in Anyiin are panicked and are on the run.

Residents said Nigerian soldiers who were alerted about the attacks brought five villagers who were critically wounded to the hospital in Anyiin.

"They're at NKST Hospital now in Anyiin," Terkura Suswam, a politician and founder of Ashi Polytechnic in Anyiin, told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone.

One of the villages is Tsukwa, which was amongst those attacked on January 1. The village recorded up to 10 casualties in that attack, according to residents who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES two weeks ago.

Tsukwa is about a mile from Anyiin, which has a police special forces unit and one of the biggest camps for the internally displaced persons in Benue State.

The commander of the special forces, Ibrahim Ignatius, told PREMIUM TIMES he was not aware of the attack because he is in Makurdi, the state capital.

The Divisional Police Officer of Anyiin Division, Celestine Utim, told PREMIUM TIMES he is trying to find out what is going on.

Another Anyiin resident who confirmed the attack to PREMIUM TIMES was Alijah Auna, the secretary of the IDP camp there.

"Yes, they've been attacking villages around Anyiin this night," Mr. Auna said. "Many people at the camp here have started running away."

"But I am still at the camp," he added.

It was not immediately clear the number of villages that were attacked Thursday night.

Witnesses said the attackers had fled before soldiers arrived at some of the villages.

Scores of villagers were killed in the January 1 attacks in Logo LGA. Survivors have remained largely at various IDP camps in the local government because their villages are still not safe for their return, despite the police's assertions that the areas had been secured.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited Logo LGA last month, Tsukwa, where at least two persons were reportedly short tonight, was the only village that was accessible out of the seven that were attacked on January 1.

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