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Six dead, houses burnt as Benue communities clash

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Six dead, houses burnt as Benue communities clash

A renewed communal clash between the Bonga community in Konshisha and the Ukpute community in Oju Local Government Areas of Benue State left at least six people dead and several houses burnt on Sunday.

Among the houses burnt was a Church. The two local government areas were last week engaged in a crisis over land matters leading to the death of two people.

Our correspondent gathered that the Sunday crisis occurred a day after a peace meeting was held between the warring communities at Tse Agbaragba, headquarters of  Konshisha Local Government.

The militia who were said to have come from the Konshisha council area attacked other communities which include; Ima, Ochoro, Ekinyo, and Agbada-Ichwo all located around the boundary between the two local government areas.

It was further gathered that the attackers came into the affected communities dressed in soldiers’ uniforms.

An indigene of Ukpute community in Oju Local Government Area who spoke to our correspondent on phone and simply identified himself as Onah said the invaders destroyed two markets, several shops and looted goods worth millions of naira, while over 3,000 women and children have been displaced.

He said, “over  15 communities in Oju living along the bounder we’re attacked by Bonda militias from Konshisha Local Government Area of the state.

“We live in perpetual fear with these people. They launch attacks on our communities at will. Imagine, some stakeholders from our communities in Oju Local Government Area attended a peace meeting with the Bonda community in Konshisha Local Government Area of the state.

“The meeting was held at Tse Agbaragba headquarters of Konshisha Local Government on Saturday to find solutions to the issue of land causing the crisis.

“But Sunday at 3:30 pm, we saw some people with army uniform, we thought that they were people coming to render peace, only for them to start burning our houses and shooting people.

President of Igede National Youths Council, Comrade Andyson Egbodo, alleged that six persons were killed and several houses burnt during the crisis in Oju communities.

Egbodo who spoke through the phone said that the number could be more when he gets additional information.

“At least six people were killed and it could be more than that until we are able to get the details of the crisis.”

Meanwhile, the second class chief and Ter Ikyor in Konshisha LG, Chief Thomas Jam Gbinde, confirmed the incident, saying some people from his domain were responsible for the attack on Igede communities in Oju LG  and condemned the attack.

“It is unfortunate that some people from the Konshisha axis would go and attack some communities in Oju Local Government Area and displaced people. I have called the district head of Bonda community and he had briefed and I have also briefed the Tor Tiv and the local government chairman.

“The chairman told me that he had informed the mobile police in Makurdi and they have been drafted to the area.

“The Tor Tiv has also directed me to order the district head of Bonda to produce those attackers. We don’t want trouble, what we need is peace,” he said

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Catherine Anene, a deputy superintendent of police, confirmed that there were fresh uprising in the areas in conflict but that the police immediately brought the situation under control.

Anene, however, said that she was not yet aware of anybody killed in the crisis.

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