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Herders kill two policemen, 16 Benue residents in reprisal attack



A reprisal attack launched by suspected herdsmen in the Gbeji community in Ukum local government area of Benue State on Wednesday saw two police officers and 16 residents killed, according to the state Police Commissioner, Wale Abass in a statement on Thursday morning.

The police boss said the genesis of the attack occured on Tuesday when some residents of the community attacked and killed five herdsmen which prompted the reprisal on Wednesday.

“Two Fulanis coming from Taraba State in a Keke Napep were stopped by some locals, who attacked and killed them,” Abass said in the statement.

READ ALSO:Ortom urges caution as Army denies reports of civilian massacre in Benue State

“Simultaneously, close to Anyiin in Logo LGA, two other Fulanis were killed. Also, at another village, one of the herders was attacked and killed. Thereafter, locals rustled his cows, butchered and shared them.

“So, when these things happened and we got wind of them, we planned to meet and placate the Fulanis through their leader, Miyetti Allah, to avoid any reprisal, unknown to us that they had their plan.

“Around 7am on Wednesday, they (Fulanis) bombarded Gbeji and fired sporadically. Unfortunately, a stray bullet hit one of our officers and he died before being taken to a hospital

“The report at my disposal shows that 10 people, including the policeman and some Fulanis, lost their lives,” he said.

Also confirming the incident, the Security Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (retd), said 18 deaths were recorded in the attack.

“Yes, I can confirm 18 lives were lost but as for reprisal, I have not got any report yet about the killing of the Fulanis. I am still trying to make enquiries. I was woken up early around 12.45am on Wednesday and informed that an attack was ongoing at Gbeji.

“I alerted the security agencies and they all mobilised and responded to the distress call and that helped in reducing the casualties. The security agencies, including the DSS, all responded.

“The verifiable figure that I have now with pictures given to me by the chairman of the council, who was at the scene, is 18, including two policemen.”

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