July 20, 2024

July 20, 2024

Family Of 7, 38 Others Killed As Militia Groups Exchange Gunfire In Benue

A family of seven and 38 others have died after rival militia gangs clashed in the Gbagir community of Ukum Local Government Area in Benue State.

Locals said the incident which occurred on Tuesday sent shivers down the spines of many who witnessed it.

Most of the deceased victims, they said, were suspected local militias who engaged in the fight for supremacy.

Twelve innocent farmers were unfortunately caught in the web of the gun battle between the duo groups.

According to residents who fled the vicinity, many people were wounded while others are still missing as of Wednesday morning.

A monarch in the area who did not want his name mentioned, told newsmen in Makurdi that trouble started on Tuesday morning after a Benue militia leader in Ukum LGA, allegedly kidnapped another Taraba militia leader, one Alhaji Gana, and his family members, who were known for banditry and kidnappings, from neighbouring Chinkai community in Wukari LGA of Taraba State.

The traditional ruler alleged that after kidnapping the victims, a demand of 100 million ransom was made but that N5 million was later paid.

He alleged that “After collecting the money, the kidnapper killed the hostages. The murder of the hostages sparked outrage among his gang members in Taraba State. This happened over the weekend.

“What followed was that another militia gang leader in Ukum now went and joined forces with the militia gang in Taraba to help them eliminate the rival gang in Ukum that killed their leader, Alhaji Gana.

Meanwhile, a senior military source who confirmed the killings in Ukum said it was a clash between two militia groups, stressing that the villagers knew those carrying out the dastardly act but were shielding them.

He said several dead bodies were recovered but refused to mention any figure, adding, “These are militia men killing themselves. Yes, we acknowledge that probably one or two people may have been caught in the crossfire but the majority of the people that were killed are members of the militia gangs in the area.”

On his part, the State Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Adesina, told newsmen in Makurdi, that more officers had been deployed in the area as he confirmed five corpses had been recovered so far.

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