Twenty – six more bodies were yesterday recovered following attacks by suspected herdsmen in military at the Benue State border communities of Akaanya , Tse Gbum , Kpete and Ulam , all in Ukum Council , bringing the death toll to 67.
The Guardian gathered from sources in the areas that the attacks were carried out by men dressed in Army uniform , who were said to be looking for their missing persons in another border town in Taraba State.
An aide to the Chairman of Ukum Local Council , who did not want his name in print, said the 26 bodies were only those recovered yesterday morning. He said : “ As it is now , we have recovered 26 bodies. Yesterday , about 41 persons were killed in Jande Ikura, a community between Benue and Taraba states . We learnt that during the attack, three bodies recovered were those of men dressed in military uniform . ”
According to the aide, between 10: 00a. m . and 11:00a. m . yesterday , the same suspected gunmen in Army uniform crossed over to some communities in Benue and started shooting and killing people , claiming that they were looking for their missing persons. “They entered Akaanya , Tse Gbum , Kpete , which is a riverine area, and Ulam , all in Benue , and killed the 26 persons there . Many people are still missing .
“These people came from Kente in Taraba State to launch the attack and after that, they retreated to their base at Kente , ” he disclosed.But fielding questions from journalists yesterday after the state Security Council meeting , the state Deputy Governor , who is the acting governor , Benson Abounu, denied knowledge of the killings in Ukum , but said only two persons were killed in Makurdi metropolis by herdsmen .
According to him : “I have not been briefed on the casualty killings in Ukum. We have had a Security Council meeting , but nobody mentioned anything like that to me . ”
On whether he had received a briefing from the Ukum Council chairman, Abounu said : “ No, the Ukum local government chairman has not briefed me yet . “ In the Security Council meeting , we emphasised the need for security in the state to be proactive , rather than being reactive.
“What they have been doing is that they only go to repel attacks and return , instead of mounting checks on the flashpoints . “With this kind of strategy, before sometimes before they get to where the attacks are taking place , the damage is already done . ”