Gwer West killings: How woman lost hus­band, two kids

Weekly Trust - - News - Hope Abah, Makurdi

For Doowuese Ig­ba­hemba, 34, life has un­doubt­edly taken a bit­ter twist, as things may never be the same again af­ter her hus­band and two chil­dren were grue­somely mur­dered in an at­tack by armed ban­dits on her Tse-Gaase vil­lage in Gwer West Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Benue State.

Ig­ba­hemba re­called that fate­ful Thurs­day night, April 4, as one that would not be eas­ily erased from her mem­ory be­cause of the hor­ror she and other vil­lagers wit­nessed in the hands of armed ban­dits.

“It was about 1:30am when the armed ban­dits, sus­pected to be herders, be­sieged our vil­lage. They shot spo­rad­i­cally while oth­ers used ma­chete on their vic­tims. I man­aged to es­cape with four of my chil­dren to Agagbe.

“But my hus­band, who was run­ning away with our two other chil­dren, was un­for­tu­nately am­bushed by the herders and hacked to death,” she narrated amidst sobs.

In the same vein, 80-year-old Pa Ibi Tse lost both his wife and son in the at­tack. Tse said his 45-year-old son had picked his mother on a mo­tor­cy­cle to flee from the trou­bled com­mu­nity to Naka town but was in­ter­cepted on the way by the at­tack­ers.

“I was ac­tu­ally in Naka town when the at­tack hap­pened so my son picked his aged mother with the in­ten­tion of bring­ing her to Naka town and then go back to evac­u­ate his own fam­ily. But while they were run­ning away, they were at­tacked on the road and

gathered that a to­tal of 24 peo­ple lost their lives from the four com­mu­ni­ties of Mba­pupuu, Mbapa, Mbach­phon and Enger all in Agagbe dis­trict of Gwer West LGA which came un­der mas­sive at­tack on April 4 and 5.

Gov­er­nor Sa­muel Or­tom, dur­ing his visit to Naka, the head­quar­ters of Gwer West lo­cal gov­ern­ment area, to con­dole with the be­reaved fam­i­lies asked the youth to de­fend their father­land against con­tin­ued at­tacks on parts of the state, which led to the fresh killing of a sol­dier.

Or­tom dis­closed that the sol­dier was killed on Mon­day in Guma lo­cal gov­ern­ment area by sus­pected herders who al­legedly en­gaged se­cu­rity men in a gun duel as they tried to re­pel them from at­tack­ing vil­lages.

The gov­er­nor warned those be­hind the killings to de­sist as the graz­ing law would not be re­pealed be­cause it is the best so­lu­tion for peace­ful co­hab­i­ta­tion be­tween farm­ers and herders, stress­ing that who­ever wants to live in the state must abide by the law of the land.

Ear­lier, the tra­di­tional head of Gwer West, Chief Daniel Abomtse, said he had lost 212 peo­ple to sus­pected herders’ at­tack be­tween 2011 and 2018 in 24 at­tacks, in­clud­ing the lat­est of 24 ru­ral dwellers in his do­main.

Abomtse, how­ever, told the gov­er­nor that his subjects would not want to stay in an IDP camp as he ap­pealed for the de­ploy­ment of ad­e­quate se­cu­rity to en­able them re­turn to their homes as they are cur­rently scat­tered around rel­a­tives’ houses in Naka town.

The gov­er­nor agreed to the royal fa­ther’s re­quest as he main­tained that his ad­min­is­tra­tion was not ready to open an­other camp.

The Gwer West lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­man, Fran­cis Ayaga, said the area had suf­fered at­tacks by herders in the past 10 years and that the worst was in 2014 when the at­tack­ers used chem­i­cal weapons on wa­ter chan­nels in the lo­cal­ity, which killed many.

The State Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Fatai Owoseni, had at an ear­lier press con­fer­ence ex­plained that in­for­ma­tion avail­able to the com­mand in­di­cated that the cri­sis had been in­fil­trated by ban­dits.

“The is­sue has gone be­yond herds­men and farm­ers from what we have seen. Our men have en­coun­tered them too; they are dressed in all-black. It is an in­fil­tra­tion from ei­ther Zam­fara State, or neigh­bour­ing coun­tries where they are be­ing chased from,” he said.

A group of be­reaved fam­i­lies

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