Benue govt conducts mass burial for 17 people allegedly killed by herders


Burial of 17 people killed in Benue

By Emmanuel Antswen

Seventeen people allegedly killed by armed herders in Mbaikyor, Gwer East Local Government Area (LGA)) of Benue State were buried on Tuesday at a very emotional ceremony.

The mass burial of the victims of herdsmen attack were conducted by the Benue State Government led by Governor, Hyacinth Alia

Armed herdsmen had on March 7, attacked
Mbaikyor community and killed 17 persons, including a retired WO2 Army officer and a boy.

However, two out of the 17 farmers were earlier buried because the corpses were fast decomposing, but the remaining 15 were buried on Tuesday.

Speaking during the burial Governor Alia
was emphatic that the solution to the incessant attack on farmers by armed herdsmen was the formation of vigilance groups.

Represented by his Deputy, Sam Ode, Alia condemned the brutal killings of the people in strong terms.

He said the Benue Government was committed to the protection of lives and property of all citizens.

“Today is a sad day in the history of Benue State; to line up caskets like this, is unacceptable. I am so sad and my heart is heavy to behold this kind of sight that shouldn’t have happened.”
“Security is not for government alone because there is no one that can protect you like yourself.

”You need to have a Joint Security Taskforce or vigilante groups that would be properly profiled and handed over to government to handle them.

“That is the solution to the insecurity we are facing in the state,” he said.

He pledged to construct the rural road that passed through the axis to ease the movement of security agencies to the area in times of emergencies, adding that the community also needed a police station.

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The governor further promised to meet with the families of the bereaved after the burial and also prayed against the reoccurrence of such incident.

Earlier, Mr Elias Audu, member, Benue House of Assembly (BNHA) representing Gwer- East State Constituency, regretted that in spite of the availability of fighter jets in the country to tackle such incidents, security agencies did not live up to their billings.

Audu advised that the relevant security agencies should be reprimanded because they failed to intervene in the crisis using the available fighter jets in their disposal adding that the attack lasted for over three hours.

Audu however, commended Gov Alia for all he had done since the attack including the Easter distribution relief materials he made available to the victims’ families.

The lawmaker also conveyed to the bereaved families, the condolences of the Speaker, BNHA, Aondona Dajoh, and his delight that Gov Alia was working towards arresting insecurity in the state.

President, Masev Development Association (MDA), Prof. Vitalis Tarhule, said the primary responsibility of government was the protection of lives and property and appealed to the government to endeavour to protect the people at all times.
Tarhule said that similar attacks had occured in 2014, 2018 and 2024 within the axis resulting to about 40 deaths.

He stressed the need to establish a security post in Mbaikyor to check the unwholesome activities of armed herders.

Chairman, Association of Mbaikyor sons in diaspora, Mr Simon Kofi, said the community had apprehended two herders and handed them over to the Police following their nefarious activities.

Kofi explained that their crime was that they told the herders not to come back to the community again, a situation which prompted the attack on his kinsmen.

An interdenominational service was conducted for the victims.

In 2018, armed herdsmen attacked and killed two priests and 16 parishioners during a morning mass within the same axis.

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