Reports have it that over 30 people have been killed in Zaki Biam, Ukum local government area of Benue state as some gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen raided the community on Monday.
N/B: Most of the photos are “Graphic”, viewers’ discretion is advised
Zaki Biam in Benue shares boundary with Wukari local government area of Taraba where over 30 persons were killed on Monday, March 20.
A community leader, Chief Udam Wuhe, said more than 10 gunmen stormed the town from TorTonda- Zaki Biam road at about 5:00pm.
According to him, not fewer than 20 dead bodies were counted with several others injured and many houses burnt to the ground.
Wuhe could not say categorically if the attackers were Fulani Herdsmen.
The incident is coming barely one week after suspected Herdsmen killed over 10 person in Buruku area of the Benue state, which led to the governor, Samuel Ortom issuing a 72 hours ultimatum to the Fulanis to vacate the area.
Moses Yamu, the state Police Public Relation Officer, who confirmed the killing, however, made it known that the casualty figure has not been confirmed.
“We are yet to ascertain the number of those killed in the attack. Our men are already on ground there to restore normalcy to the area,” he said.
Below are more photos from the raid.
According to an eyewitness, “the gunmen stormed the yam market on about 12 Bajaj motorcycles and four Toyota Corolla cars and started shooting at anyone on sight.”
“As I speak to you, everyone has deserted the community, running for his or her dear life. Over 50 persons have been killed, including school children returning home from their schools. We don’t know who the attackers really are”, one of the villagers said
Several cars and a fuel station were also razed as pandemonium engulfed the area.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, said the Governor condemned the dastard act, even as he called for information on the whereabout of the most wanted person in Benue State, Terwase Akwaza (a.k.a Gana).
The statement reads, “Governor Samuel Ortom has canceled all his engagements for tomorrow, including the scheduled swearing-in of new members of the State Executive Council.
“The Governor’s directive is in respect of recent attacks in the Sankera area of the state particularly today’s murder of innocent people at the Zaki-Biam market in Ukum local government area.
“He condemns the attack and restates his call on the people with useful information that will lead to the arrest of notorious criminals in the area including Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana to contact security agencies, assuring that information sources will be protected.
“Governor Ortom commiserates with families of the victims, promising that the state security council would redouble efforts to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.
“He says the latest development underscores the need for all good spirited individuals and organizations to join hands with government to confront and surmount the security challenges”.
The governor further warned against confrontations as the herdsmen make their way out of the state, and the security operatives ensuring they move out safely to where they came from.
The state police commissioner, on behalf of other security agencies, called for caution among youths and urged them to restrain themselves from resorting to violence at the slightest provocation but to remain patient.
Makama promised that the security agencies would not relent in the discharge of their duties.