Fresh violence erupts in Benue between herdsmen, farmers

Gabriel Suswam

The police in Benue State on Sunday confirmed a fresh outbreak of hostilities between some Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers at Adaka village, Makurdi Local Government Area.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ezeala, said in Makurdi that renewed fighting between farmers and herdsmen broke out in the early hours of Sunday.

The herdsman and the farmers had engaged in fierce fighting in November over the destruction of farms by cattle reared by the Fulani men. During the hostilities, people were wounded and farmlands and houses were destroyed, causing severe cases of displacement.

Mr. Ezeala said it was not clear what led to the fracas, but assured that enough police officers had been deployed in the area to quell the crisis. He said investigation into the incident had commenced and details of the disturbance, including the magnitude of the destruction, would be made known as soon as the investigation was concluded.

Hundreds of displaced villagers were seen on Sunday taking refuge in houses near the Makurdi/Naka Express Road and under trees along the highway.

A 70-year old displaced farmer, Samuel Ugba, said he heard shooting in the village at about 5.00 am, but thought it was coming from security agencies deployed to keep the peace in the area. He said it was when the shooting continued that he suspected that there was a problem and fled with his entire household of two wives and 17 children from the village.

Mr. Ugba said his family had no place to go and therefore called on the state government to immediately provide resettlement centres to the displaced people to reduce their hardship.

Another displaced person, Blessing Asoo, a mother of three, said that she had to flee with her children from the village when she heard the gunshots.

Mrs. Asoo expressed regret that they escaped hurriedly, saying that she failed to carry some food items and other essentials to sustain her and the children. She appealed to the government to intervene in the crisis to enable them to return to their homes.


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