At least seven persons believed to be Fulani nomads were reportedly set ablaze at Gboko central motor park, Benue state, on Wednesday, police have said.
Two others were injured in the attack.
The police spokesman in Benue, Joel Yamu Moses, confirmed the incident and handed the reporter a statement issued by the state police command.
The statement by the state police command reads:
”At about 0930hrs of date, information was received by the Police in Gboko, of a skirmish at the Gboko Central Motor Park. The Police immediately mobilised to the park and on getting there, found that seven male adults, whose identities are yet to be ascertained, but believed to be Fulani by tribe, had been attacked, murdered and their bodies set ablaze by some irate Gboko youths in and around the motorpark.
”Initial findings revealed that the unfortunate victims were passengers in a commercial motor vehicle, heading to Okene, Kogi State, from Jalingo, Taraba State.
”The Executive Governor of Benue State, H.E Governor Samuel Ortom has visited the area for on-the-spot assessment, so also has the Commissioner of Police, Benue State, CP Fatai Owoseni.
”Some arrests were made and interrogation is ongoing. Anyone found culpable and whosoever is linked with the dastardly act shall be promptly and diligently prosecuted to ensure that the victims get justice and discourage all acts of impunity in the State. Proactive measures have been emplaced by the police and other security agencies in Gboko and other parts of the state to prevent further breakdown of law and order.’’
As the incident sparked renewed tension in the town, the state governor has imposed a curfew on Gboko.
Mafindi Danburam, the North-east chairman of the umbrella body of cattle breeders in the country, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone that the group was aware of the development.
”We just got distress call that 11 Fulani nomads had hired a commercial bus from Yola, Adamawa state and were heading to Lokoja but their driver had a stopover at Gboko motor park.
‘’While they were about to get down from the vehicle, some Tiv Militias mostly youth attacked, murdered seven instantly and their bodies were set ablaze. Two are presently hospitalised while the remaining two are still missing. So, we want the government to seriously investigate this heinous attack,’’ he said.
The state was recently thrown into mourning when suspected Fulani herdsmen ravaged communities, killing over 70 persons, an incident that sparked national outrage and put the presidency under pressure to find solutions to the unending farmers/herdsmen clashes over land.