By Johnson Arubi
Marauding Fulani herdsmen between Thursday evening and Friday morning, launched unprovoked attacks on Ukohol community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State killing 20 persons among them, children and a security personnel.
The dastardly attack left several persons injured while hundreds of those displaced were seen fleeing on foot to the neighbouring town of Daudu with the few belongings on their heads.
One of the survivors, Saakuma Udenyi said the attackers first struck on the evening of Thursday, November 3, 2022 when people of the community were retiring for the day.
According to him, the attackers shot indiscriminately at several people and macheted those who tried to flee, stating that the attackers returned the morning of Friday, November 4, 2022 and killed a security personnel and burnt down several houses.
The latest attack by armed herdsmen on Ukohol community is coming barely two weeks after similar attacks took place in Gbeji, a settlement in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
It would be recalled that thirty-six persons including two policemen were massacred with other persons missing following armed Fulani herders attack on Gbeji community in the early hours of Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
The renewed spate of attacks on Benue communities has sparked reactions from individuals and groups who have condemned what they described as coordinated genocide targeted at defenseless innocent citizens.
The Secretary, Forum of Concerned Nigerians, Samson Ochono an indigene of the state who resides in Abuja condemned the unprovoked killings, noting that the killers herdsmen are emboldened by recent comments of PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Alhaji Abubakar, who holds the highest honorific chieftaincy title for non-Tiv indigenes, the Zege Mule U Tiv, during an interactive session organized by the Arewa Joint Committee in Kaduna, was quoted as saying: “I am angry with Governor Ortom for profiling Fulani as bandits and terrorists because I am a Fulani.”
Following the massacre of 36 persons in Gbeji by invading Fulani herdsmen, Abubakar also took to his Facebook page describing the killings as farmer/herder clashes. He particularly insisted that for peace to reign, Benue people should integrate Fulani people into communities of the state, an unguarded statement which drew wide condemnation from Nigerians.
Reacting to the latest bloody attack on Ukohol community, Secretary, Forum of Concerned Nigerians, Ochono stated that “It is obvious the Federal Government is complicit in this acts of terror. The insensitive comments of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar concerning the killings have also emboldened the killer herdsmen,” he insisted.
According to official statistics from the State Government, since 2011 Benue State has been facing perennial attacks by marauding Fulani herdsmen with at least 5,000 persons including over 120 security personnel murdered in cold blood by the assailants. The state currently has over 2 million persons taking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPS camps.