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30.05.2021 news Benue Villagers Seek Refuge in Katsina-Ala Garage after Invasion by Herdsmen, Militants

Published 30th May, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

Hundreds of displaced residents of villages invaded by local militants and Fulani herdsmen are stranded and stuck at the Katsina-Ala garage in Benue State.

On Thursday, a group of the Fulani herdsmen colluded with militants simply identified as ‘Gana Boys’ to invade Shikaan, a village around Abaji area of Katsina-Ala.

Following the invasion that led to the killings of about 200 persons, hundreds of residents, including aged women and children, have been forced out of their homes.

FIJ exclusively received photos of the displaced villagers looking distressed after spending nights in the open space of the garage. Many more of the villagers are seen trooping into the garage for fear of future attacks.

FIJ had received gory pictures of dozens of residents either shot or butchered to death. The killings had trended on Twitter, with #BenueUnderAttack.

John, one of the displaced persons seeking refuge in the garage, said life has been difficult for them since their homes were invaded.

“We’ve been sleeping here since that time. Things have been really tough for us,” he told FIJ in Tiv Language. “We want to go back to our homes.”

Several victims who spoke with FIJ on the phone said they were unwilling to return to their villages unless the government assured them of their safety.

Meanwhile, Samuel Ortom, Governor of the state, had said he was tired of announcing deaths of innocent citizens killed by Fulani herders. He urged residents of the state to defend themselves against the marauding herders, using local weapons.

“I will no longer announce the deaths of those killed by Fulani herdsmen; rise up and defend yourselves with weapons not prohibited by law, bows and arrows, spears and knives,” he said.

“Get a licence for dane guns from local government chairmen and use them to defend yourselves. God assured me sometime back that as long as I lived within the circle of his presence, no weapon fashioned against me shall prosper.”

Published 30th May, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

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