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Group claims over 89 killed in Benue council in 3 months



A socio-cultural organisation in Benue State, the Apa Development Association (ADA), has put the figure of the number of people killed by suspected herdsmen in the Apa Local Government Area of the state at 89 in three months.

The ADA which is the umbrella body of the Apa people, at a press conference on Wednesday in Makurdi, said the victims were killed by the armed herdsmen who invaded 31 villages under the council between January and March.

Chairman of the Association, Eche Akpoko, who addressed the press conference, said the security situation in the area was “precarious and volatile” and lamented the inability of the State government and security agencies to arrest the situation.

Akpoko listed the affected villages to include Ope-Ikobi, Ochi-Ikobi, Olugwu-Ikobi, Inowa-Ikobi, Olegoncha-Ikobi, Ijaha-Ikobi, Imana-Ikobi and Oleoke-Ikobi, where 40 people were killed.

Giving a breakdown of the number of people killed so far, Akpoko said:

“At Ugbobi, five persons were killed including the village head. In Odugbo, eight persons were shot dead while five persons were killed at Olegogba, and one person each was killed at Akpete and Opaha respectively. Akpanta and Iyapu were also attacked and two persons each were killed.”

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He added that 20 people were killed across other villages including Ebugodo-Edikwu, Ankpali-Edikwu, Olegijamu-Edikwu, Olekele-Edikwu, Ukpogo-Edikwu, Edikwu-Icho, Edikwu-Oladoga, Okwiji-Edikiwu and Ojecho-Edikwu villages.

Akpoko also debunked claims that the attacks on the people of LGA were as a result of chieftaincy/land disputes.

“This claim is merely speculative, spurious and baseless as it is intended to divert public attention from the real issues on ground.

“Contiguous local governments to Apa such as Agatu, Otukpo and Gwer-West have also suffered similar attacks.

“We maintain that the rationale for these unprovoked attacks on Apa Local Government people is a clear case of invasion and forceful occupation of our land”.

He call on the federal and state governments to mobilise relevant agencies to provide relief materials to the people, while cautioning that his aggrieved people might be compelled to activate their rights of self-defence, which might lead to total breakdown of law and order.

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