Police, Locals Give Conflicting Figures of Policemen Dead from Herdsmen Attack in Benue Community

The Benue State Police Command has confirmed that four of its personnel deployed to Logo Local Government Area to maintain the peace were killed at Anyibe village in an attack by suspected herdsmen that lasted between 6pm of Sunday and the early hours of Monday.
But locals said at least 10 police officers are feared killed and several others missing.
The attack began around 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening when gunmen opened fire on two police officers who were riding on a motorcycle between Anyibe and Ayilamo, two communities in Logo Local Government Area where hundreds have been killed in suspected herdsmen attacks since January 1.
One of the police officers died on the spot, while the other reportedly escaped.
Some officers were dispatched to retrieve the body of the slain officer, but they, too, came under attack on their way back from the mortuary where they deposited the remains of their colleague.
The gun battle that followed reportedly left nine officers killed and several others still missing. The bodies of the nine officers were discovered on Monday morning, it was learnt from residents and local government officials.
About 30 officers were said to have been involved in the incident. Some officers are said to have returned to their station, but it was not immediately clear how many.
At least two police trucks were also burnt by the attackers, it was gathered.
“We have confirmed this morning that 10 policemen were killed including the first one that was killed on a motorcycle,” said Paul Pevikyaa, information officer for Logo Local Government Area.
“Only a few places are safe now.”
Two members of a local vigilante group working closely with the police also disclosed that nine or 10 officers have been confirmed killed.
The Logo Local Government Council Chairman, Richard Nyajo maintained that the casualty figure was far higher adding that many others sustained injuries in the attack.
Nyajo said: “The well armed herdsmen entangled the Police personnel on duty in the area at about 6pm and killed several of them, some managed to flee.
“Though I cannot confirm the total casualty figure but many were reported dead and several others sustained injuries. That is what those who managed to escape told me when I met them,” the Chairman said.
However, the State Police Command in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu confirmed that only four policemen lost their lives in the attacks.
The statement read in part: “Benue State Police Command regret to report that its personnel came under attack of insurgents at Anyibe, Logo LGA of the State between 6pm of Sunday April 15th., 2018 and early morning of today(Monday).
“Sadly, at the moment, four casualties have been suffered by the Police.
“Additional reinforcement (including the Air Asset of the Police) deployed by the Inspector General of Police is in pursuit of the murderous gang.
“They shall definitely be apprehended with their weapons of destruction and made to face the full wrath of the law.” The statement read. Meanwhile the Benue state Commissioner of Industry, Trade and Investment, Prof. Tersoo Kpelai has disclosed that over 56 persons where killed by suspected herdsmen in last Thursday’s attack on Gbeji town of Tsaav ward, Tse-Akaanya and Tse-Hiityo of Lumbuv council ward of Ukum local government area of the state.
Kpelai who hails from the area made the disclosure after undertaking on-the-spot assessment of the sacked communities.
He said the figure could be far higher at the end of search for the remains of victims in the affected villages.
He said: “so far we have recovered 33 bodies from some of the bushes and rubbles of burnt houses, huts and farmland and the search is still ongoing so there is every likelihood that the figure would be much higher because three more bodies have just been recovered and many are still missing.
“From what we have gathered so far from survivors, the herdsmen who attacked the border communities came from Chenkei in Taraba state.
“Most of the survivors also accused the Nigerian Army of colluding and leading the militant herdsmen to attack their villages.
“The property and valuables lost in the attack including houses, huts, farmland, economic trees, food barns and seedlings could be well over N300m

Author: News Editor

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