LOCALS in the latest communities attacked by suspected herdsmen in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State claimed on Friday that they had recovered 26 more bodies of victims of the attack that started on Wednesday.
They said the assailants, dressed in military uniform, killed about 15 people on Wednesday and maintained that the total number of people killed as a result of the attacks had risen to 67.
According to the residents, farmers in Akaanya, Tse Gbum, Kpete and Ulam communities, all in Ukum Local Government Area, on Friday, recovered 26 bodies of people killed by the attackers.
The attack was said to have followed a claim by the assailants that they were looking for their missing colleagues.
An aide to the chairman of the local government told Saturday Tribune on the condition of anonymity that the 26 corpses were only recovered on Friday morning.
“As of now, we have recovered 26 bodies. Yesterday, about 41 persons were killed in Jande Ikura, a community located between Benue and Taraba states. We learnt that during the attack on Jande Ikura that left 41 people dead, three bodies of some of the attackers dressed in military uniform were also recovered.
“Yesterday (Thursday), between 10.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m., the same gunmen in army uniform went to some communities and started shooting and killing people, claiming they were looking for their fellow soldiers who were missing.
“They invaded Akaanya Tse Gbum, Kpete, which is a riverine area and Ulam, and killed the 26 persons there. Many people are still missing. These people came from Taraba to launch the attack,” he added
He said the gunmen, after the attacks, retreated to their base in Kente.
However, the state acting governor, Mr Benson Abounu, said he was yet to get any briefing on the incident from the council chairman.
“I am yet to be briefed of the casualty rate in Ukum. We have had a security meeting but nobody mentioned anything like that to me,” Abounu said.
The acting governor, who spoke to newsmen after the meeting on Friday said, “At the security meeting, we only emphasised the need for security in the state to be proactive rather than being reactive.
“What they (security men) have been doing is that they only go to repel attack and return instead of mounting checks at the flash points. With the previous strategy, sometimes the security men only got to scenes of attacks when the damage had already been done. So, we have asked them to change strategy and monitor the affected areas affected to forestall further attacks.”