The governor said he knows where the herdsmen have been launching their attacks.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has disclosed that he knows the location of the Fulani herdsmen that carried out a string of deadly attacks in the state that has led to the death of 71 people.
The governor made this revelation while speaking to State House correspondents on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the attacks.
According to the governor, the attacks were masterminded by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who have resisted the state’s implementation of the anti-open grazing law since last year.
He said he had made several requests that the leadership of the group be arrested for their open threats to the security of the state but that he was ignored.
He said, “I believe that my request that the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who has earlier threatened… and I accused them directly, since June last year I have been writing to the leadership of security agencies, that these people are a threat to our collective interest and they must be dealt with.
“They must be arrested and prosecuted because we cannot allow impunity to continue to thrive. And, of course, threat and no action has resulted in this killing and I think that Mr. President will also do the needful to ensure something is done.”
The governor said the attackers that have been terrorising the state over the past week have been launching their attacks from Tonga in Awe local government area of Nasarawa State.
He said, “As I talk to you, they are in Tonga in Awe local government, that is where these people are camped and coming to attack people.”
The governor further revealed that another herdsmen attack took place on Monday, January 8, when two mobile policemen were “slaughtered like goats”.
“Just yesterday (Monday) in Logo local government, mobile policemen that were deployed to Logo to keep vigil to protect the people and the land, these militia came, exchanged fire with them, caught two of them and slaughtered them like goats. Mobile policemen!
“They shot another one, macheted him and left him in the pool of his blood, but luckily, he did not die. We have taken him to the hospital, we are treating him. The other one that was declared missing was found today (Tuesday),” he said.
After meeting with the governor on Tuesday, President Buhari promised that the country’s security agencies are committed to bringing the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.
He posted on his official Twitter account (@MBuhari), “I just met with the Governor of Benue State. I assured Governor Ortom of our total commitment to the security of lives & property in Benue and elsewhere. We have deployed additional security resources to fish out the attackers, bring them to justice, and prevent further attacks.”
In response to the attacks, President Buhari had, on Monday, January 8, ordered Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to relocate to the troubled state and prevent the escalation of the crisis.
In attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Guma and Logo Local Government Area of Benue between Sunday, December 31, 2017, and Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 50 people were reportedly killed.
11 other people were killed in a fresh attack on Tombu village of Logo LGA, again by suspected Fulani herdsmen, on Saturday, January 6, 2018.
According to Governor Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Terve Akase, the death toll for the attacks hit a total of 71 victims on Monday, January 8.
Earlier on Monday, the governor had declared three days of mourning in the state for the victims of the attacks. The mourning period will run from Tuesday, January 9, to Thursday, January 11, ending with a church service for the victims at the IBB square in Makurdi, followed by a mass burial.
Police charge 6 to court
The Benue State Police Command arraigned six Fulani herdsmen who are suspected to be connected to the massacre of over a dozen people in Guma LGA on January 2.
The suspects were allegedly involved in the killing of 19 people in Akor village and were arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court in Makurdi before Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim on Friday, January 5.
Alongside the six already charged to court, the state’s police command also arrested two suspects in Logo LGA on Wednesday, January 3.