Suspected herdsmen ask Benue community to vacate homes

Suspected herdsmen have issued a three-days warning to residents in some communities in the Guma Local Government Area of Benue State to vacate their ancestral homes or face serious attack.

 

Tse Ahentse, Iye and Udei communities were attacked on Tuesday and Thursday leading to the death of 13 persons.

 

The marauding herders had sent mercenaries and issued a threat to people living in Torkula village in the same Guma Local Government Area to vacate the community or face the consequences.

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Torkula village is the ancestral home of the late paramount ruler of Tiv nation, HRM Alfred Akawe Torkula.

 

It was learnt that the marauding herdsmen dispatched two mercenaries to Torkula village on Wednesday and asked the people to vacate the village or be sacked.



“Two of the herders, on Wednesday, rode on motorcycle and stormed our village, Tse Torkula, and issued a threat asking us to leave our village or face dire consequences,” a villager who identified himself as Udenyi said.

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Confirming the threat to the Punch on the phone, on Friday, the Chairman of Guma Local Government Area, Caleb Aba, said that palpable fear had gripped the people of Tse Torkula village as a result of the threat.

 

Aba said, “Yes, they (herdsmen) sent two mercenaries after their attack on Tse Ahentse, on Tuesday, and other attacks on Idye fish pond. There was an attack on a community close to Yelwata on Wednesday as well.

 

“These two mercenaries came to Tse Torkula village and said that they were sent by their leaders to come and inform them to leave the village or stand the risk of being invaded.”

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The council boss, who said that the threat had instilled fear in the villagers, noted that security operatives had been informed of the threat message.

 

“The situation in the community is that there is fear of unknown but they (herdsmen) have not come yet. We have reported the threat message to security operatives and they are trying to investigate the threat message by the leaders and they are (security operatives) already patrolling the area,” Aba said.

 

The Benue State Goveror, Samuel Ortom, who in a statement entitled ‘Fulani terrorists continued massacre of Benue farmers’, on Wednesday, confirmed the threat message.

 

Ortom, through his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said, “Eyewitness account said the Fulani terrorists who had earlier issued a threat to the Tse Torkula community, asking them to leave the village or face dire consequences, came on motorcycles and without any herd of cattle.

 

“Torkula is the ancestral home of the late Tor Tiv IV, HRM Alfred Akawe Torkula.”

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Efforts to get the reaction of the State Command Police Public Relations Officer, SP Catherine Anene, were not successful as she neither picked her phone when called nor responded to messages sent to her cell phone.

 

COSMBYLA Reacts

Reacting, the Coalition of Southern and Middle Belt Youth Leaders Assembly, COSMBYLA, has condemned harassment.

 

The coalition, which is the umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South East, South-South, South West and Middle Belt regions, expressed worry over how the assailants operate in the area despite heavy presence of military personnel.

 

In a statement issued and made available to reporters on Friday, the coalition’s President General, Goodluck Egwu Ibem, wondered why the military officers who claimed they have neutralized loyalists of Gana, (a notorious terrorist killed in 202) are unable to do same to the bandits.

 

Ibem alleged that “The military and other security agencies should know that Nigerians are not fools and cannot be deceived by any unusual antics. How can the military be effective only when they see Gana boys and ineffective when Fulani militia kill Benue indigenes in broad daylight?

 

“We have it on good authority that the Fulani militias want to conquer the southern part of Nigeria through Benue State. They want to take over communities on river Benue through which they will sail to the oil-rich South-South states.

 

“The plot to sack the communities along the Benue river is to avoid a situation where the people of those communities will see them sailing down to the South-South with their Fulani militias to attack the Niger Delta people.”



According to the statement, the coalition called on Southern governors and other stakeholders to join Benue in eradicating the security threat, alleging that there is an agenda by some individuals to take over the South.

 

Citing the Holy Bible “Mathew 11 :12 (And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violence take it by force), the coalition charged Benue youths take back their ancestral homes from the invaders.

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