Gunmen kill 27, including mourners in Benue, raze market

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

No fewer than 27 persons have been reportedly killed by an unknown armed gang in a bloody attack on Adogo Ugbaam, Akpuuna and Diom communities in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

The attack also left several persons with life-threatening injuries.

It was gathered that the armed men had, on Friday night, attacked a funeral at Adogo Ugbaam community, where they killed three mourners.

And on Saturday morning, at about 11a.m., another gang invaded Akpuuna and Diom communities, where 24 persons were murdered.

According to a local source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the armed men whose motive was not known, stormed the villages on motorbikes killing the three mourners at Adogo Ugbaam village at about 9p.m., after which they invaded Akpuuna and Diom on Saturday morning, when the local market in the area was busy with the day’s activities.

He said: “Nobody saw this coming; the armed men stormed Diom and Akpuuna on motorbikes at about 11 am, when the local market in the community had picked up with activities after killing three mourners at Adogo Ugbaam village last night (Friday) at about 9p.m.

“At Akpuuna and Diom they shot at anybody they saw, mercilessly killing the people in the market and the two neighbouring villages.

“There was pandemonium; people ran for their lives but many could not escape. Apart from those killed, many are still missing; and from all indications that number will rise.

“After killing the people and injuring many, the armed men set fire on people’s property and fled the scene.

“As we speak people are fleeing the attacked communities but the search for missing persons is ongoing. It is a sad day for our people.”

Confirming the development, the Chairman of Ukum LGA, Mr. Kartyo Tyoumbur, said information at his disposal indicated that 24 bodies had been recovered from the two attacked villages.

He said: “I learned that after attacking Akpuuna and Diom, the armed gang fled the scene but on getting to the Tine-Nune community on the Zaki Biam-Wukari Road they met the military who confronted them.

“Though no one knows how many of them were killed, but I believe some of them must have been neutralised in that exchange.”

The Chairman, who decried the attack, said no one knew the motive of the attackers.

Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene in a statement said “At about 12 pm, a militia gang invaded Akpuna village, Ukum LGA of Benue state and were shooting sporadically.

Upon receipt of this information, police teams in collaboration with other security agencies rushed to the area and engaged these bandits, who were eventually repelled.

“Eight corpses were recovered at the scene while many other injured persons were taken to hospital for treatment. Operation is ongoing in the area.”

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