Seven farmers were killed in the last one week in Logo Local Government area of Benue State by suspected herdsmen after soldiers were redeployed from the state. This is even as the herdsmen on Saturday attacked the Okoklo community in the Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, killing Mr. Andrew Ataboh and his son, Benjamin, while they were working on their farm at Inahem. Investigations by our reporter in Anyiin, the traditional headquarters of Logo Local Government Area, showed that most of those killed were returning to their ancestral homes to continue with normal farming activities when they were felled by herdsmen’ bullets.
Four Tiv farmers, including a Yoruba man were killed in Tombo council ward, while three others were killed at Ukemberagya council ward all in the same local government area. Sources said the rampaging herdsmen also used to block the roads and footpaths linking the troubled communities. They would dispossess the farmers of their money, motorcycles and valuable items before killing them.
A resident of Anyiin, Chief Joseph Anawa, said: “Since soldiers of the Ayem A Kpatuma also known as Cat Race, left the communities, the herdsmen have been attacking farmers on a daily basis They killed four people in Tombo council ward, a Yoruba man and another man as well as one person at Ukemberagya Tswarev council ward bringing the total number of those killed to seven.” Chief Anawa lamented that the presence of the soldiers, who were deployed to maintain peace, “did not help matters because they were allegedly aiding the invasion of the herdsmen into homes of innocent people whose homes are now deserted.”
Anawa added: “The possibility of fleeing farmers to return to their homes is not possible due to growing tension that has enveloped the entire local government area. We’re appealing to the federal government to deploy dozens of mobile policemen in troubled villages to facilitate the quick return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their homes, especially now that farming activities are fast approaching.” In Agatu, it was gathered that the herdsmen mutilated the private parts of both father and son in their farm. A resident, who is the Supervisory Councillor for Finance and Appropriation in the Agatu Local Government Area, Mr. John lkwulono, said the herdsmen, after hacking father and son to death, removed their vital organs and dumped their bodies in the bush.
Ikwulono alleged that about five soldiers deployed in Okokolo area to protect the community were moved to Makurdi without any reason, leaving the community open to attacks. Ikwulono said: “I had earlier alerted members of the public and the concerned authourities prior to these killings that herdsmen were planning to attack my community. I got no response from anyone, not even the security operatives.”