Six-month-old killed as gunmen wipe out entire family of seven in fresh onslaught
Suspected herdsmen struck at Uchen community in Gwer-West local government area of Benue State on Tuesday, killing seven members of a family, including a six-month-old baby and injuring several other people.
But when contacted, the spokesperson of the state police command, Catherine Anene, said only five persons were killed in the attack and that security personnel had been deployed in the area to stop further attacks.
However, in his reaction, the state Commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Michael Inalegwu, said the herdsmen “wiped out the entire family.”
He queried why the militia herdsmen have continued to attack and kill Benue people without any provocation.
According to the Leadership newspaper, a resident of the community anonymously said that the seven members of one family including infants lost their lives to the violent attack.
He blamed security agencies particularly personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) whom he said were not far from the community but came after the attackers were through and fled the scene, even as he described it as delayed response.
According to him, “the security personnel who were close to Uchen community refuse to show up, and when asked they gave an excuse that there was no way for us to distinguished between community members and the attackers at that time.”
He lamented the unhindered reoccurrence of attacks on Benue communities with no form of protection from the security agencies. “But that is what we are experiencing here, the attackers will attack and go back, afterwards security will come and pack the dead bodies and pretend to be combing the area for a few hours and leave.
“Even in the day time when the herders attack our communities and we call security personnel, they will leave us to our fate, none of them will show up until the attackers finish their mission before you will see them, I just can’t understand whether the securities stationed in our area are agents of the attackers,” the source who asked not to named said.
The state deputy governor Benson Abounu had at a recent state security council meeting in Makurdi described the response of security agencies to the simultaneous attacks and killings of Benue farmers as reactionary rather than proactive, saying it is medicine after death.
He said, “I call your response belated because it is after the harm had been done that security operatives will arrive at the scene which to me is medicine after death.”
Meanwhile, suspected gunmen on Sunday invaded 1, 000 housing estate along Pegi community in Kuje area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), abducting at least 15 people.
The gunmen were said to have attacked the estate at about 11.30pm, shooting sporadically into the air, while kidnapping some residents of the community returning from the city about that time.
The chairman of Pegi Residents Association, Taiwo Aderibigbe, who confirmed the incident, explained that among the people abducted was a staff of the FCT Department of Development Control under Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC).
“Gunmen abducted 15 persons along the abandoned 14-kilometre Pegi Road, out of those kidnapped is one Shuaibu Misa, a staff with the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
“We also observed that a husband of the woman who sells second hand clothes at the main entrance to the estate was among the people kidnapped while they were returning from work.
“The kidnappers have not contacted the families of those abducted at the moment, but we are still trying to identify other residents abducted.”
Reacting to the abduction, Mukhtar Galadima, Director FCT Department of Development Control, said, “yes is true, one of our drivers by name Shuaibu Misa was kidnapped and he has not been released.”
However, as at the time of filing this report, the police public relations officer of the Federal Capital Territory command, Josephine Adeh didn’t respond to several calls out to her.
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