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Bloody Friday: Gunmen murder 9 in Benue

Benue, blood, policeman, fridayIT was a black Friday yesterday as some gunmen murdered nine villagers and wounded many others in Benue State, just as in Edo State, suspected Fulani herdsmen killed a policeman in cold blood.

In Tse Ujoh village in Ikyurav-Tiev in Katsina Alla Local Government Area of Benue State, gunmen turned the area to a killing field, murdering nine and injuring scores of struggling villagers.

In the Edo State incident, the policeman was shot dead by an armed gang suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on the Benin-Auchi Road.

The killing of the cop, who was identified simply as Sergeant Jubril, came on the heels of the murder of two policemen at Igarra, headquarters of Akoko Edo Local Government Area during a robbery attack on two commercial banks.

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Yesterday’s incident in Ikyurav-Tiev, Benue State, came after a botched attempt, a few weeks ago, by a group of unknown armed men to attack the residence of Major-General John Malu.

The invaders had been repelled by soldiers attached to the army chief, who is a younger brother to a former Chief of Army Staff, the late General Victor Malu.

However, it was gathered those unknown gunmen, in the early hours of Friday, invaded Tse Ujor village, in Benue State, where they shot sporadically, killed nine people and injured many other inhabitants.

An eyewitness told Saturday Tribune that the injured were taken to an undisclosed hospital, where one of them eventually died.

“At least nine bodies were found and taken to a hospital morgue after the attack by the gunmen, who also left several people injured, the eyewitness said.

The state governor, Samuel Ortom, who confirmed the attack and the death of nine victims, described the incident as unacceptable.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom disclosed that troops had been deployed in the affected area.

The governor said steps were being taken to prevent further attacks in the area, adding that three suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack.

“Governor Ortom reassured the people of the state that his administration will not allow armed militias to continue to terrorise communities.

“He encouraged anyone with information that can lead to the apprehension of the gang members to contact the police, Department of State Services or the military,” the statement said.

The spokesman of the state police command, Moses Yamu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed that nine people were killed in the attack.

“We got information that some militias suspected to be of Shitile [a sub-tribe] attacked Tse Ujoh village of Ikyurav-Tiev council ward where nine people were killed,” Yamu said.

Herdsmen kill policeman in Edo

The killing of the policeman in Edo State was said to have been carried out in Okhou-Iguehianmwen, near Obadan community in Uhunmwode Local Government Area, on his way to Benin.

It was gathered that the deceased was one of the policemen acting as escorts to officials of the state chapter of the Practising Butchers Association, who had gone to Afuze for the inauguration of the Owan East chapter of the association.

The convoy of the association’s chairman, Mr Paul Akhere Odijie, was returning from Afuze when it ran into the armed Fulani herdsmen who were robbing travellers on the highway.

According to a victim who did not want his name in print, the suspected armed men, who were more than 20 in number, carried sophisticated weapons which they fired intermittently to scare people.

The source explained that when Sergeant Jubril sighted the robbers, he fired into the air to scare them away but was hit by bullets fired from the guns of the marauders.

Jubril, who was said to be attached to the Government House, Benin, with his bullet wounds, reportedly took to his heels along with the vice chairman of the association, Mr Nath Iyamu.

It was learnt that the assailants went on their trail in the forest.

Their operation was said to have lasted more than an hour, causing a gridlock on the road, which leads all the way to Okene and Lokoja in Kogi State.

Some of the passengers, it was gathered, were robbed of money and other valuable items, while others were marched to an unknown destination where they were assaulted by the hoodlums.

Policemen from the Uhunmwode division, who were said to be responding to a distress call, reportedly rescued the passengers.

However, fears that Jubril might be dead grew when he was not answering calls put through to his telephone line.

The eyewitness said his body was later discovered after several unanswered calls to his phone by members of a joint team of vigilantes and the security operatives.

When contacted, the state police spokesman, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the incident which, he said, was already being investigated.

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