At least 24 persons were killed after suspected herdsmen attacked Omusu village in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Chairman of Okpokwu LGA, Mr Ogwuche Olofu, disclosed this to Governor Samuel Ortom on Tuesday during an on the spot assessment to Omusu community.
The new figure emerged after the Benue State Police Command confirmed the killing of 15 persons – mainly women and children, by suspected herdsmen when the community was attacked.
The attack left about 20 victims in critical conditions at the hospital while food crops and houses were reportedly burnt down by the assailants.
One of the survivors, Innocent Ojobo, whose elder brother was killed called on the Federal Government to provide support for the Open Grazing Prohibition Law, to help herdsmen confine their animals and avert the spate of killings in the state.
“Ortom Seeks Justice”
Condemning the attack during his visit to the community, Governor Ortom had called for the arrest and prosecution of the assailants.
He described the attack as unfortunate, saying such barbaric act was unacceptable in the 21st century.
The governor, however, reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he accused of sponsoring suspected herdsmen militia.
He had also directed the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately provide relief materials to the displaced persons while appealing to the community not to embark on any form of reprisal.
After assuring the residents that security operatives have been mobilised to forestall further attacks, Governor Ortom visited a private hospital where the injured persons were being treated and the General Hospital in the town where the dead victims had been deposited.
The herdsmen had earlier reported an attack on them, alleging that some cows and two persons were missing. However, they were said to have ignored investigations into the allegations as they went ahead to launch a reprisal, leading to the loss of lives and property the community.
Coming about two months after the state government buried at least 70 people, Governor Ortom has issued a directive for necessary arrangements for another mass burial to be held for victims of the fresh attack on Friday next week, March 16.