The government of Benue State has said that herdsmen have killed more than 1,500 people including farmers, policemen and soldiers in Benue State communities in 47 different attacks in the last three years.
Lawrence Onoja Jnr, Hon. Commissioner for Information and Orientation, disclosed this while speaking at a press conference in Makurdi, the State capital.
He said the Fulani herdsmen decided to declare war on people of the state because of the enactment of the anti-open grazing law.
Mr. Onoja said the victims were killed between 2013 and 2017 in Agatu, Guma, Kwande, Katsina-Ala, Logo, Ogbadibo, Gwer West, Makurdi, Buruku, Gwer East and Ohimini local government areas of the state.
He also recalled how the convoys of former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam and ex-Senate President, David Mark, were also attacked by the herdsmen at Umenger and Agatu respectively during their separate visits to trouble areas.
The local inhabitants had lost properties worth over N100 billion to the attacks, the commissioner added and expressed government’s dissatisfaction with the role played by security agencies deployed to flashpoints to help maintain peace. He accused the IGP for taking sides with the herdsmen while the killings continue unabated.
Recall that the Benue government had accused the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, of alleged complicity in the attacks and killings of innocent citizens of the state by the armed herdsmen and called on the Federal Government to sack Idris from his post.
Onoja, faulted the IGP’s comments that the state governor was arming militia and condemned the “lopsided arrests” carried out by the police.
Statements coming from some of the nation’s top security chiefs may have confirmed the fears expressed by many people that the herdsmen unleashing murderous attacks on Benue may have backing of some highly placed individuals within the security apparatus of state, he alleged.
He said the IGP was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to relocate to Benue in the wake of the New Year killings, but regretted the police chief was sighted just a day in the state and has preferred to stay in Nasarawa State.
According to Onoja, the arrest of the Miyetti Allah Kuatal Hore leadership was the only solution to the intractable crisis.
See below the time-line of attacks released by Benue State government:
TIMELINE OF ATTACKS ON BENUE STATE FROM 2013 – May 2017
1. February 2013 Fulani Attacked Agatu burning Inoli, Ologba, olegeje, olegogboche, olegede, Adana, Inminy and Abugbe communities. Many lives lost.
2. April 23 2013. 10 farmers killed in an attack on Mbasenge community in Guma LGA by suspected herdsmen.
3. May 7, 2013. 47 mourners gunned down in Agatu while burying two policemen killed the Tuesday before in Nassarawa.
4. May 14, 2013. Over 200 herdsmen surround Ekwo-Okpanchenyi, Agatu LGA killing 40 locals.
5. July 5, 2013. 20 people were killed in a “conflict” between Tiv farmers & herdsmen at Nzorov,Guma LGA, Benue state.
6. July 31 2013 herdsmen invade 2 villages in Agatu LGA killing 8 villagers allegedly in retaliation for the killing of 112 cows.
7. November 7, 2013. Attackers strike at Ikpele & Okpopolo communities killing 7 and displacing over 6000 inhabitants.
8. Nov 9, 2013. 36 locals killed and 7 villages overrun in an attack by herdsmen on locals in Agatu LGA.
9. Nov 20, 2013. Attack on communities in Guma LGA, killing 22 locals and destroying properties worth millions of naira.
10. Jan 20 2014. Gunmen attack Agatu LGA, killing 5 soldiers and 7 civilians.
11. Jan 20, 2014. Attack on Adeke village. 3 dead.
12. 20-21 Feb 2014. Herdsmen attack Gwer West LGA. 35 persons killed. 80,000 displaced. 6 Council Wards Sacked.
13. Feb 24, 2014. Attack on a Tiv community along Naka road, Makurdi, killing 8 people.
14. March 6, 2014. 30 killed in Kwande, Katsina/Ala and Logo LGAs by attackers dressed in military uniforms. 6 villages sacked.
15. March 12, 2014. Raid on Ukpam village of Mbabaai in Guma LGA. 28 persons killed. Yam barns and farms burnt.
16. March 10, 2014. Former Governor Suswam’s convoy attacked by herdsmen at Umenger. He and convoy manage an escape.
17. March 12, 2014. Herdsmen attack Suswam’s village in Logo LGA. 22 slaughtered. Entire village sacked.
18. March 23, 2014. 25 killed and over 50 injured by herdsmen said to be bearing sophisticated weapons in Gbajimba, Guma LGA.
19. March 25, 2014. Police recover 7 corpses following an attack on Agena village by Herdsmen.
20. March 29, 2014. Herdsmen attack 4 villages in Agatu LGA. 19 people killed, 15 others abducted.
21. March 29, 2014. Suspected use of chemical weapons on Shengev community in Gwer West LGA leaving 15 people dead.
22. March 30, 2014.19 locals killed and 15 abducted in Agatu LGA.
23. April 10, 2014. Over 100 herdsmen attacked 4 villages in Ukemberaga/Tswarev ward of Logo LG, 6 killed,Properties lost.
24. April 15, 2014. Attack on Obagaji, Headquarters of Agatu LGA, 12 youths killed.
25. September 10, 2014. Herdsmen attacked five villages in Ogbadibo LGA leaving scores dead.
26. January 27, 2015. 17 persons killed in attacks on Abugbe, Okoklo, Ogwule & Ocholoyan in Agatu LGA by herdsmen.
27. January 30, 2015. Over 100 attackers stormed 5 villages in Logo LGA, killing 9 persons in the attack.
28. March 15, 2015. Egba village in Agatu LGA sacked by herdsmen,over 90 locals, including women and children killed.
29. April 27, 2015. 28 persons killed by herdsmen in attack on 3 villages at Mbadwem, Guma LGA; houses and farmlands razed.
30. May 11, 2015. Ikyoawen community in Turan Kwande LGA invaded by herdsmen. 5 persons killed & 8 others wounded.
31. May 24, 2015. 100 killed in an attack by herdsmen in villages &refugee camps at Ukura, Gafa, Per and Tse-Gusa, Logo LGA.
32. July 7, 2015. 1 local killed and several others injured following an attack on mourners in Imande Bebeshi in Kwande LGA.
33. November 5, 2015. 12 persons killed, 25 others injured in Buruku LGA following an attack by suspected herdsmen.
34. Feb 8, 2016. 10 killed and over 300 displaced in clash between herdsmen and farmers at Tor-Anyiin and Tor-Ataan in Buruku LGA.
35. Feb 21-24, 2016. Over 500 locals killed and 7000 displaced in an attack on Agatu LGA by fulani herdsmen. Over 7 villages razed.
36. March 9, 2016. 8 residents killed by herdsmen in attacks on Ngorukgan, Tse Chia, Deghkia and Nhumbe in Logo LGA.
37. March 11, 2016. Attack on Convoy of Senator David Mark by suspected herdsmen in Agatu LGA. No casualty recorded.
38. March 13, 2016. 6 people including an APC youth leader killed by herdsmen in an attack on Tarka LGA.
39. February 29, 2016 11 killed in Edugbeho Agatu LG including a police inspector.
40. March 10, 2016 Two killed in attack on Obagaji Agatu.
41. March 5, 2016 Houses burnt in Agatu. Security forces prevented killings.
42. January 24, 2017: 15 persons were killed by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, who attacked farmers in Ipiga village in Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue State.
43. March 2, 2017: No fewer than 10 persons were killed in a renewed hostility between herdsmen and farmers in Mbahimin community, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
44. March 11, 2017: Seven people were killed when herdsmen attacked a Tiv community, Mkgovur village in Buruku local government area of Benue State.
45. May 8: Three persons were confirmed killed by herdsmen in Tse-Akaa village, Ugondo Mbamar District of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.
46. May 13, 2017: Less than one week after many people were killed by herdsmen in three communities of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, armed herders struck again on May 13 killing eight more people.