Stakeholders in Benue State, including three socio-cultural groups, the Mdzoungh U Tiv, Ochitoha’K’idoma and Omin’Igede, as well as some local government chairmen, on Monday raised the alarm over the new tactics armed herdsmen used to attack communities in the state.
At a press conference in Makurdi, spokesman for the stakeholders, who is also the chairman of the Ukum Local Government Area, Steve Ayua, said the armed herdsmen now used to crossing points at River Benue and other waterways to get to their target areas.
He said with the dry season approaching the seasonal movement of the armed herdsmen into the state had heightened tension.
Ayua noted that 21 of the 23 local government areas had bitter tales concerning the armed herdsmen, who he said did not come with cows, but AK-47 to kill and maim.
The spokesman recalled the Saturday killing of mourners, adding that armed herdsmen were responsible for the murder of four people in Adigi in the Mbatyatyor council ward of Logo LGA.
“We also have reliable information that the herdsmen always resist arrest whenever they are caught violating the law on open grazing.
“They shoot at those attempting to arrest them. They have also adopted guerrilla tactics of coming at night to slaughter our people and escape without being challenged.
“Another disturbing trend recently introduced by the armed herdsmen is to go to the crossing points in River Benue and other waterways within the state and force the boatmen to ferry them to their targeted areas. Any resistance from the boatmen is met with instant death,” Ayua said.