The Police in Benue, Wednesday, said they have arrested eight herdsmen over the death of 10 persons and seven livestock guards in Guma and Logo Local Governments of the state on Monday.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Moses Yamu, announced this in a statement.
No fewer than 20 people were killed and 30 others, including children, injured, by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on Monday and Tuesday.
“Eight herdsmen, six in Guma and two in Logo, had been arrested in connection with the attacks,” the police spokesman said.
He added that the command had made additional deployments to the troubled area to forestall further occurrence and restore confidence of the people.
Yamu stressed the situation in the two local government areas had been brought under control while investigation was ongoing.
He said:“They attacked Tomater village in Sengev Council ward, Akor village in Nzorov council ward and Bakin Kwata village in Umanger council ward of Guma LGA.
“Among those killed were seven (7) members of Benue State Livestock Guards, their vehicle burnt and an uncertain number of persons injured in separate attacks between 31/12/2017 and 02/01/2018.
“Again, Agba-Uko near Azege village and Tse-Aga village of Logo LGA experienced the same fate, where one person was killed, one motorcycle burnt and four persons injured.
“All the injured from both LGAs are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the State.”
According to him, five combined teams of mobile and conventional policemen led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, ACP Emmanuel Adesina have engaged the armed herdsmen in a gun duel in Guma.
The Benue Anti-Open Grazing Law came into effect on November 1, 2017 to forestall attacks on Benue communities by suspected herders.
The law stipulates five year jail term or an option of N1m fine for violators.
The attack is the first by suspected herdsmen since the law came into effect.
No fewer than 20 people were killed and 30 others, including children, injured, by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. They attacked villagers killing and maiming as many who came their way.
Governor Samuel Ortom wept openly when he saw the magnitude of the attack during his visit Tuesday to the Benue State University, Makurdi where the bodies were kept in a morgue.
According to him, nine of the dead were livestock guards – the enforcers of the anti-open grazing law.
The law is to check the herdsmen, who have been killing people. Its implementation has started despite protests by Miyetti Allah, an organisation of Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom said the law was not targetted at any ethnic group and wondered why the herdsmen had taken it so personal to the point of unleashing terror on the people.
It was also learnt that more people were killed in Tomatar, Saghev districts in Guma Local Government Area. But the number could not be ascertained.
A tearful 30-year old woman Miss Dooshima Anande, said her brother who had just completed his National Youth Service was killed.
Villagers were leaving in droves with their property.
Meanwhile, residents of Makurdi on Wednesday trooped out on the streets to protest against Tuesday’s attack on some farmers, calling on the presidency to bring the culprits to book.
The residents were seen with placards bearing inscriptions such as “presidential intervention needed” and “stop this incessant blood bath”.
Some of the protesters, who shouted on top of their voices, said the Federal Government should intervene and stop the madness.
The protesters, mostly youth, barricaded most routes leading in and out of the state.
The youth have vowed not to leave the streets until the presidency speaks on the killings.
One of the protesters, Terhemen Anum said that some residents in Guma and Logo local government areas and yet to be determined number of peasant farmers, women, children and the aged were attacked while “no one has spoken from the high places”.
Another resident, Ruth Agba, said there was evidence that the gunmen killed some farmers, burnt down their homes and destroyed their farms, crops.
Ms. Agba said the attackers’ mode of operation did not differ from Boko Haram terrorists. She said the extent of impact and devastation on victims means the attackers should declared as terrorists.