Nine feared killed, two policemen missing in attacks on two Benue communities

Nine people were reportedly killed in early hours of Wednesday in separate attacks in two communities in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State by people suspected to be local militia groups.

According to a source who did not want to be named, three people were killed at Jootar, a border community between Benue and Taraba states while two policemen were declared missing.

Six others, among them a nursing mother, were reportedly killed  at Mbamena settlement by suspected local militia members.

The source said that militia members suspected to be from Taraba State invaded Jootar around 4.00 a.m. on Wednesday, killed three people and destroyed about 200 houses.

It was further gathered that the militia men allegedly operated unchallenged for almost three  hours despite the presence of special forces  in Wukari, about two kilometres away from the attacked community.

The Mbamena attack was said to have been carried out by militia men allegedly from Tongov area who were out on reprisal mission.

Caretaker Chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, Mr. Tortyokaa Ibellogo, said six people were killed in the two attacks.

According to him: “To the best of my knowledge, this is supposed to be a crisis between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba State and has nothing to do with Benue. In my state Benue, we have Jukun in Abintse and Wurukum in Guma and Makurdi living peacefully with the Tiv people.”

Benue State Police Command through the Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anne, confirmed that three corpses were recovered in Jootar but declined comments on Mbamena.

She said: “Incident at Jootar  is confirmed. Three unidentified corpses have been recovered. Two officers on duty in the area yet to be found. Investigation is still in progress.

The  force commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, said the situation is under control as troops had been drafted to the affected areas.

“As early as 4:00 a.m., our troops went and stationed there and we are not aware of anyone killed as at that time and none of our officer is missing,” Yekini said.

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