Sixteen People have lost their lives following fresh attacks on three communities in Gwer West area of Benue State by suspected herdsmen on Saturday.
“Sixteen people were killed by militia herders in Tse Tuma, Chiachia and Tse Targu communities and neighbouring villages, all in Gwer West,” the Chairman of Gwer West Local Government, Francis Ayagan, said.
Also confirming the attack, the sub-sector Commander of the Operation Whirl Stroke in charge of Gwer West, Flying Officer Mohammed Abubakar, said it was a reprisal for cows that were allegedly rustled on Friday by people he claimed were livestock guards in military uniform.
The sub-sector commander said seven corpses had so far been recovered from the affected communities.
Abubakar said the chairman of Gwer West Local Government Area of the state had given the names of seven members of livestock guards, who he alleged were the perpetrators of the violence to the OPWS.
Abubakar said, “At about 4.30 pm on Saturday, information got to me that some people in military uniform were sighted at the Agape Forest and I mobilised my men to the forest.
“My men embarked on a search and discovered that those behind the rustling of cows are members of the livestock guards.
“We later traced them to Ter Nagi’s Palace and discovered 22 cattle there but he (the monarch) claimed that they belonged to him.
“Thereafter, we contacted the DPO, who equally identified the rustlers as members of the Livestock Guards who disguised as military men to rustle cattle and butchered them for sale at the Naka Market.
“As I speak with you, they are selling the meat at the market. The DPO also gave the names of seven persons who are members of the Livestock Guards involved in the incident.
“Just this afternoon, our men went on a mop up patrol and discovered four additional dead bodies at the scene of the incident.”