Metro & Crime

Herders kill lawyer, wife, blindman in Benue

I won’t succumb to attacks by terrorists –Ortom

Gunmen suspected to be armed Fulani herdsmen yesterday killed a prominent lawyer, Moses Udam, his wife and a blindman, Nyikyor Mazugu, at Agboughol community in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. The herdsmen, who were without cattle, invaded the area about midnight when most people were asleep.

They also smashed two private cars belonging to the lawyer and his wife. Three people, who sustained gunshot wounds during the attack, were rushed to the hospital for treatment. The attack came days after armed men sacked Tse-Tyohemba and Tse-Angbande communities, killed five people and injured many others. New Telegraph learnt that Udam and his wife were shot dead and butchered at their residence behind Makurdi Modern Market. Sources said the gunmen also carted away the lawyer’s telephone sets and other valuable items before proceeding to kill the blindman and injure one person.

A source, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, said the gunmen numbering eight, trailed the lawyer and broke into the house in search of vital documents in connection with a case he was handling. The source added that the armed men also forced their way into another residence where they robbed the occupant of his N200,000 before they fled. “It was when they left that we started screaming and shouting for help and also alerted troops of Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS).

“Troops, who got alerted, immediately moved to the scene to stabilise the situation while police later arrived at the scene. “What we gathered was that Udam was handling some sensitive cases and might have been killed to silence him,” the source said.

The Commander, OPWS, General Adeyemi Yekini, said his troops were deployed in the area but declined further comments. He said: “We have stabilised the area and everywhere is now calm. However, you can get further details from the Defence Headquarters Media Operations on the incident.” Governor Samuel Ortom, who immediately visited the scene, described the attackers as armed terrorists.

He said: “Benue State under my watch will not succumb to attacks by terrorists whether they are jihadists or militia herders whose sole target is occupation of the state and destruction of lives and property.” The governor said the pattern of the attack and killings barely four days after a similar incident at Tse-Angbande was unfortunate and bore the handwriting of mindless jihadists who had set out to overrun the state.

He noted that the series of attacks were a grand plan to whittle down operations of Livestock Guards and Agro Rangers who were doing very well in containing attacks on communities and enforcing the Ranching Law of the state. Ortom lamented that developed climes globally with higher numbers of cattle compared to Nigeria had no cases of conflicts between herders and farmers due to ranching which was also being practiced in Benue State. The governor vowed to continue to speak against impunity in the country.

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