Benue community accuses militia of killings, abductions

File photo of Gov. Ortom briefs President Buhari on security situation in Benue Pic.10. Gov. Samuel Ortom answering questions from State House correspondents after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the security situation in Benue State, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (9/1/18). 00148/9/1/2018/Sumaila Ibrahim/BJO/NAN

Members of Shitile community in Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State are accusing a militia of kidnapping and killing residents.

The residents sent a petition to the presidency and other local and international human rights organisations on the matter.

They named the militia as Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, and said it reportedly has the support of the state government.

In the petition, dated July 24, 2017 and signed by 20 persons on behalf of the community, the residents said the CJTF activities had taken “a nasty and brutish turn” for the people of the community.

The residents said they were being “hounded and haunted by a reign of terror characterised by frequent and rampant extra judicial killings, physical and psychological battering of women and children and wanton destruction of residential and commercial properties, all at the hands of one Aondona Ishenge.”

The petitioners said Mr. Ishenge, otherwise known as “Tor-Abaji,” and his accomplices among whom is one, Ternenge Orijondo, also known as Or-Ijondo, “operate under the canopy proclaimed by him as the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, and purportedly emplaced by the Government of Benue State”.

They said the CJTF as a Benue State Government funded quasi-security apparatus “is supervised and armed with sophisticated automatic firearms through the office of the Security Adviser, Edwin Jando (rtd) and commanded by one Aliyu Tashaku, who enjoys the ignoble fame of having been an operative of the Boko Haram terrorist group.”

They also said under the control of Tor-Abaji, the CJTF “has changed the taste and colouration of life for the people of our community, killing and maiming at will, as well as burning down and utterly destroying homes and businesses of our people, leaving us in a state of heightening terror, trauma and total insecurity”.

They allege that the crisis could be traced to the degenerating security situation dating back to November 2016 when two persons, Orkar Galgbom and Wangyo Mbatsav, were allegedly killed by CJTF in Utyondu village, of Mbayongo district in the area.

“In January 2017, there were many killed at Tse-Igbe, while on the 18th, 25th and 26th days of June, 2017, Tor-Abaji, dressed in military uniforms and armed with sophisticated automatic rifles, together with his horde of heavily armed gang moved through Abaji settlement on a spree of destruction, burning down houses and brutalising women and children, after which he arrested some targeted persons whom he took away to an undisclosed located and subjected them to severe torture, resulting in scores of deaths

“A number of persons were lucky to have escaped alive from the torture rounds, among them Orafalorlumun Gbiseh and Terfa Achia, both of whom narrated how Tor-Abaji, while torturing his victims had boasted of having the support of government which he bragged placed him above the law, even as he said to have vowed to bring all political opponents of the ruling government to their knees by force of arms,” they said.

The petitioners also said, while all of this was going on, they made several reports to security agencies within the state but received no response.

The petitioners said the fear in the area is that if the CJTF is not tamed in time, ”it has the capacity to rapidly grow into another terrorism monster in the kind of Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda or Taliban.”

They called on the government to ensure that the CJTF is disbanded immediately.

A copy of the petition, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, also has a list of the names, location and dates of all those reportedly killed, maimed or kidnapped in the communities within Shitile

Efforts to get a reaction to the allegations from Mr. Jando, the SA on security to Governor Ortom were unsuccessful.

He did not answer repeated calls by the reporter and did not also respond to a text message sent to him before publishing this story.

Mr. Ortom has, however, repeatedly said his state has no such armed militia and was not procuring arms for any such group.


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  • Dan Minister

    Hmmm slowly the Killers in Benue state are beginning to be known by everybody. When the police chief was saying communal clashes, some people were busy abusing him or he is a Fulani too but before our very eyes same natives of Benue state are accusing the state governor of using his armed militias in carrying some of these dastardly act. The governor is not been paying salaries for a very long time so, he decided to use an ethnic/religion card and is most unfortunate. We are watching, time shall tell. That is not to say that herdsman is exonerated but the whole issue is beyond herdsman

    • john

      Shuuut up your mouth.

      • Patriotism

        With time God will surely expose the truth weither you like it or not.

    • KBE

      Planted story to divert attention. Every attempt to spine the narrative will fail. Polticians being exposed and those trial want to cash in on the insecurity problem to cause confusion.

  • john

    I see this as a calculated attempt to rubbish Benue State Governor- the people’s Governor. Benue enemies must have been behind this publication. Oh God arise and let our enemies be scattered to their destruction.

  • Patriotic Nigerian

    I am happy that the FG for the first time is trying to dig deep into the remote causes of middle belt socio-political/ethno-religious/economic based conflicts. I have the strong belief that the main culprits are the political and tribal leaders who are drawing cheap benefit from this crises while lives and properties of Innocent citizens are being wasted. Let us not forget the killing of about 100 security men mostly police and SSS by the Eggon Ombatse Millitia in 2014. Such wicked massacre of Federal security agents has never happened in Nigerian history, yet no one has been punished, no commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the crises by the the then Jonathan administration, to make things worse, there was never wide condemnation of this inhumanity by the hypocritical media. As the Military and IGP are now digging deep into the crises in Benue ans neighboring states , the truth shall revealed itself and the real killers and their sponsors will sooner or latter be exposed for the world to see.

  • Isreal Bethel

    Time we tell if this is not political propaganda, why are all these not in the press before this period.

  • KBE

    POLITICS. For the uninformed this is a political move of the opposition element. This statement has exposed the motive and the sponsors of this fake petition.
    “A number of persons were lucky to have escaped alive from the torture rounds, among them Orafalorlumun Gbiseh and Terfa Achia, both of whom narrated how Tor-Abaji, while torturing his victims had boasted of having the support of government which he bragged placed him above the law, even as he said to have vowed to bring all political opponents of the ruling government to their knees by force of arms,” they said..

  • disqus_jLJUa0YmE9

    Orton now is the commander of militia