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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Herdsmen killings: Benue Govt releases timeline of attacks

The Benue State government has finally revealed the timeline of attacks on its people by suspected Fulani herdsmen between 2013 and 2017.

The state government said between 2013, when the bloodthirsty herders launched its first attack on its people in Agatu and 2017, several persons and valuables worth millions of naira have been lost.

Lawrence Onoja Jnr, Hon. Commissioner for Information and Orientation while speaking at a press conference in Makurdi, the Benue State capital said the Fulani herdsmen decided to declare war on people of the state because of the enactment of the anti-open grazing law.

His report below.

You will recall that on Thursday, 1st June, 2017, I drew your attention to media reports particularly that which appeared on page 41 of the Nation Newspaper of 31st May, 2017. That report is credited to the Miyetti Allah, Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural association, which held a Press Conference in Abuja to reject the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law signed by, Governor Samuel Ortom.

2. In the aforesaid report, the National Secretary of the Association Engr. Saleh Alhassan, sought to justify the reprehensible, irresponsible and criminal destruction of lives and properties in Benue State on the grounds that the Fulani herdsmen are the original inhabitants of the Benue Valley. He claimed that they are engaged in a lingering crisis with the current inhabitants in the state, particularly the Tiv, over Natural resources.

Perhaps it is necessary to draw attention to the summary of the Fulani herdsmen attacks listed hereunder which led to the general outcry and yearning in the state for a law to curb open grazing which has been responsible, to a large extent, to these attacks. Available records indicate that sustained attacks started as far back as 2011 but to save time and space our list starts from 2013. Here is the summary:

TIMELINE OF ATTACKS ON BENUE STATE FROM 2013 – May 2017

1. February 2013 Fulani Attacked Agatu burning Inoli, Ologba, olegeje, olegogboche, olegede, Adana, Inminy and Abugbe communities. Many lives lost.

2. April 23 2013. 10 farmers killed in an attack on Mbasenge community in Guma LGA by suspected herdsmen.

3. May 7, 2013. 47 mourners gunned down in Agatu while burying two policemen killed the Tuesday before in Nassarawa.

4. May 14, 2013. Over 200 herdsmen surround Ekwo-Okpanchenyi, Agatu LGA killing 40 locals.

5. July 5, 2013. 20 people were killed in a "conflict" between Tiv farmers & herdsmen at Nzorov,Guma LGA, Benue state.

6. July 31 2013 herdsmen invade 2 villages in Agatu LGA killing 8 villagers allegedly in retaliation for the killing of 112 cows.

7. November 7, 2013. Attackers strike at Ikpele & Okpopolo communities killing 7 and displacing over 6000 inhabitants.

8. Nov 9, 2013. 36 locals killed and 7 villages overrun in an attack by herdsmen on locals in Agatu LGA.

9. Nov 20, 2013. Attack on communities in Guma LGA, killing 22 locals and destroying properties worth millions of naira.

10. Jan 20 2014. Gunmen attack Agatu LGA, killing 5 soldiers and 7 civilians.

11. Jan 20, 2014. Attack on Adeke village. 3 dead.

12. 20-21 Feb 2014. Herdsmen attack Gwer West LGA. 35 persons killed. 80,000 displaced. 6 Council Wards Sacked.

13. Feb 24, 2014. Attack on a Tiv community along Naka road, Makurdi, killing 8 people.

14. March 6, 2014. 30 killed in Kwande, Katsina/Ala and Logo LGAs by attackers dressed in military uniforms. 6 villages sacked.

15. March 12, 2014. Raid on Ukpam village of Mbabaai in Guma LGA. 28 persons killed. Yam barns and farms burnt.

16. March 10, 2014. Former Governor Suswam's convoy attacked by herdsmen at Umenger. He and convoy manage an escape.

17. March 12, 2014. Herdsmen attack Suswam's village in Logo LGA. 22 slaughtered. Entire village sacked.

18. March 23, 2014. 25 killed and over 50 injured by herdsmen said to be bearing sophisticated weapons in Gbajimba, Guma LGA.

19. March 25, 2014. Police recover 7 corpses follow
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