Monarch escapes death as bandits vandalise palace
At least four people were killed at the weekend when suspected herdsmen attacked farmers at Yelewta community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
New Telegraph learnt that three of the victims were murdered by the herders while the fourth was allegedly felled by a stray bullet of security agencies who were trying to contain the protest which broke out following the killings of the trio.
The protesters had mounted barricades on the Makurdi-Lafia Expressway over the killing of the victims who were murdered on their farms. The Chairman of Guma Local Government Area, Mr. Caleb Aba, confirmed the incident.
He said that the angry youth had blocked the highway to protest the killing of the three teenagers, who went to cultivate their farms, following the onset of the rainy season. Aba said the killing of the teenagers by suspected herders angered the youth of Yelewta so who barricaded the highway with the victims’ bodies, making it difficult for motorists to ply the route.
The chairman explained that the development led to the intervention of the police, soldiers of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) and traditional rulers, who tried to placate the protesters and get them to free the road.
He added: “Sadly, in an attempt to disperse the angry youth, who were resisting, there was a shot by the security agencies and unfortunately, one of the protesters was hit by a bullet and died.”
Aba, who doubles as the state Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), added that he was already making arrangements for the four victims to be interred.
He, however, noted that normalcy had returned to the Yelewta community after the chaos and that the villagers were now going about their businesses.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, neither picked her calls nor responded to text messages sent to her telephone to confirm the incident. Meanwhile, gunmen at the weekend attacked the palace of the kindred head of Jor Fada, Chief Terhile Atser, at 36, Jooji Kyado Street, Gboko East in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
They also destroyed vehicles and other valuables believed to be worth millions of naira belonging to the monarch.
Terhile is a sibling of the former Chairman of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Mr. Terzungwe Atser, and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youth leader in Gboko, Hon. Aliyu Nomishu.
The motive behind the attack was yet unknown but the victim told New Telegraph that he suspected one of his subjects (name withheld) who recently threatened his life.
A witness, Mr. Robert Nomishu, who is a younger brother of Zaki Atser, said the gunmen numbering about five, invaded the palace with guns, axes and machetes about 1.45am on Friday, searching for the traditional ruler, who was out of town for the burial of one of his relations.
Though there was no casualty in the attack said to have lasted about one hour, a Toyota Camry car, motorcycles, windows and doors were badly damaged.
Another witness, a neighbour, who pleaded anonymity for security reasons, said the gunshots from the attack woke him up and other neighbours.
Terhile, who said the matter had been reported to the police, said he was now staying in an undisclosed place with his family for security reasons because, according to him, the attackers vowed to come back for his life.
One suspect alleged to be a former PDP youth leader in Gboko was said to have been arrested in connection with the attack.