The assailants targeted the Akpuuna village in the Ukum district of Benue state on Saturday, opening fire on the residents before making their escape from the scene.
In the latest attack that occurred in a remote area of north-central Nigeria, gunmen have brutally killed 24 villagers, raising serious concerns about the country’s ongoing security challenges
Tersoo Kula, the spokesperson for the governor of Benue state, confirmed the latest attack. Authorities have attributed the latest attack to a “militia gang,” a term commonly used to describe armed groups prevalent in the violence-stricken northwest and central regions of Nigeria. Over the past year, thousands of lives have been claimed by armed violence in these areas. The police in Benue, through their spokesperson Catherine Anene, disclosed that eight bodies have been recovered so far, while local officials, including legislator Ezra Nyiyongo, reported a higher death toll of at least 24, with several others sustaining injuries.
Expressing his shock and sympathy, Nyiyongo publicly shared the names of the deceased, emphasizing that the latest attack was unprovoked. In response, Governor Hyacinth Iormem Alia of Benue state instructed security forces to apprehend the suspects, and his spokesperson, Kula, assured that the government would implement measures to prevent similar latest attacks from occurring in the future.
Violent clashes between local herdsmen and farmers over limited access to land and water are prevalent in various parts of northern Nigeria, making the latest attack a recurring occurrence
In Benue state alone, the violence this year has claimed the lives of over 100 people. Unfortunately, arrests are seldom made following these killings.
Emmanuel Udende, the representative of the village in the Nigerian Senate, highlighted the latest attack concerning the fact that the gunmen operated for more than two hours without any intervention from the security forces. This underscores the alarming security situation faced by villagers in numerous volatile areas where the Nigerian security forces are outnumbered and outgunned.