Herdsmen Kill Catechist, Six Others In Benue, Nasarawa

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Suspected herdsmen at the weekend killed no fewer than seven persons in Benue and Nasarawa states.

In Nasarawa State, the armed herders killed the Catechist of St. Mathew’s Catholic Parish in Obi, Nasarawa State, Sydney Shirsha.

Four people were also on Saturday killed when herdsmen attacked Yelwata community of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.

However, the fourth victim was said to have been killed when a security agent accidentally fired live bullet at angry youths protesting the killing of their three kinsmen by the herders.

Shirsha was murdered in his Amudu village in Giza Chiefdom of Keana LGA of the state with two other members of the village.

An eyewitness account said the killers, armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded Amudu, a Tiv village in Giza Development Area of the state, killing the Catechist and two others in a midnight attack.

It was gathered that the attack left several others with various degrees of gunshot injuries, just as the incident has led to the displacement of over 20,000 Tiv farmers from various villages in and outside the Keana LGA.

President of Tiv Development Association (TIDA) in the state, Mr. Peter Ahemba, confirmed the ugly development to journalists in Lafia, the state capital.

He regretted that the Tiv people in the state have remained under sustained attacks by armed herders for no reason.

According to him, “the killing and displacement of the Tiv people of the state in the coordinated attacks have continued unabated since the first attack on Ajimaka community of Doma LGA, which led to the gruesome murder of nine persons about a month ago.

“We call on the state Governor, Abdullahi Sule, to save our soul. We are being chased out of Nasarawa State, and we are appealing to the governor not to allow the seemingly planned elimination of the Tiv community succeed under his watch.”

However, when contacted, the state Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Ramhan Nansel, said there was no report of such killings at the Giza Division of the state police command.

In a related development, four people were on Saturday killed when herdsmen attacked Yelwata community of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.

According to a local source, those killed were teenagers who were working on their farm when the herdsmen stormed the area and killed them.

Following the attack, angry youths in the area who recovered the corpses of the victims blocked the Makurdi-Lafia highway for several hours.

Efforts by the military, the police and other security agencies to get the angry youths off the road were said to have been rebuffed causing heavy traffic gridlock on the major highway.

According to the Chairman of Guma Local Government, Caleb Abah, three of the young men were killed on the farm while the fourth person died after one of the security personnel accidentally fired a shot at the angry crowd.

“Sadly, in an attempt to disperse the angry youths who were resisting, there was a shot by the security agencies and unfortunately, one of the protesters was hit by a bullet and killed.

“As we speak right now, calm has been restored to the area and we are already making arrangements for the dead to be buried,” he explained.

He acknowledged the efforts of Governor Samuel Ortom who quickly mobilized some government functionaries to the troubled area to calm frayed nerves, which resulted in the quick resolution of the matter.

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene could not be reached as at the time of filing this report as she did not pick or return calls.