NO fewer than 390 persons have been killed in repeated armed Fulani herdsmen attacks on communities in Gwer West Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State, while 37 others were severely injured.
The attacks also left eight districts sacked while houses, farmlands and food barns were razed by the invaders.
The Chairman of Gwer West LGA, Tyoshin Traditional Council and the Ter Tyochin, Daniel Abomste, made this known yesterday to Vanguard in a documentary evidence of the attacks including names of those killed and severely injured by the suspected armed herders in Gwer West LGA since 2011 till date.
A breakdown of the attacks indicated that 55 persons were killed in 2011 in his domain while a total of 78 persons were murdered in 2022. Three persons lost their lives to the attacks in 2013 while 48 persons were murdered in 2014 as well as the three that were hacked to death in 2015.
2016 had a record of three deaths and a survivor who had his hand chopped off by the invaders. The LGA was spared in 2017 but recorded its worst attacks in 2018 when the assailants went berserk killing 85 persons and injuring eight others while 2019 recorded 35 deaths and five injured victims.
From the records, there was considerable respite for the people in 2020. Five persons were killed that year by the militia herdsmen and 11 others sustained injuries.
However, 2021 witnessed a sudden surge in the number of attacks and killings in the area. Sixty four persons were killed in incursions that left 11 persons severely injured. And since the beginning of the year 2022 the LGA has recorded four attacks by the marauders that left 11 persons murdered in cold blood.
Lamenting the activities of the armed herdsmen in the LGA, the monarch pointed out that eight districts in his domain including “Sengey, Mbachohon, Gbaange/Tongov, Tyoughatee and Saghev/Ukusu have already been sacked by the jihadist terrorists masquerading as herdsmen.”
He noted that efforts by the Third Class Chiefs whose domains were affected, to have more security presence in their localities was rebuffed as they were told by the unit head “to prepare to accommodate herdsmen in their domains.
“And since then things have taken a new dimension in Gwer West with heavy influx of herdsmen with their cattle, eating up every available farm produce, notably yams and yam seedlings kept in farms including cassava farms with impunity and threats on victims with firearms.
“The herdsmen have dared everyone and are fast closing in on Naka town, headquarters of Gwer West LGA where most displaced persons are taking refuge. We are worried that Naka may fall prey to the attackers. Something should be done to correct the security situation in the LGA with minimum delay,” he added.
The monarch also appealed to military to mount blockades at the two main entry points of the armed herders from neighbouring Nasarawa state at Gbaji and Anguhar to check the incursion as well as provide security at Enger community to enable some of the displaced persons return home and engaging in farming activities with the coming of the rains.