Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Six states recorded 78 deaths in first week of 2018

In the early hours of Monday, January 1, the sky above Omoku community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA) local government area of Rivers state, turned black.
In one fell swoop, the community lost 17 people to what was suspected to be an attack by cultists.
Unknown to Nigerians, that sad incident only “opened doors” for more worrisome killings in various parts of the country – in cases ranging from herdsmen attacks to cult clashes.
A week into 2018, five other states already have their share of the killings, including Benue, Taraba, Ebonyi, Kaduna and Rivers. Sad beginning for the year, no doubt!
Here is a rundown of the reported killings.

JANUARY 1:
Rivers of Blood
While members of Omoky community were returning from the New Year vigil mass on Monday morning, they were attacked by unknown gunmen and in the end of the onslaught, 17 of the community members were said to have lost their lives.
Unconfirmed reports had it that the assailants were working for a former militant leader in the state.
Dakuku Peterside, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who hails from the state, had said supremacy battle among cult groups was responsible for the incident.

Kaduna: Murder in the palace
Around midnight on Monday, gunmen suspected to be herdsmen broke into the residence of Gambo Makama, the Etum Numana, and his pregnant wife, killing the duo.
The incident occurred in Arak, his hometown in Sanga local government area of the state.
The assailants were said to have opened fire on three persons after breaking into the house, with the third person identified as the son of the traditional ruler.
Makama and his wife were unlucky as they had died on the spot while their son, who was said to have sustained serious injuries, was rushed to the hospital.
“The gunmen set the house ablaze and burnt a vehicle which was recently given to the chief as a gift. They fled into the bush after they committed the dastardly act,” Bala Audu, chairman of Sanga Development Association, said regarding the incident.

JANUARY 2:
Bloody Benue
In what was claimed to be in defense of their cattle, armed herdsmen attacked Benue communities in Guma and Logo local government areas, unleashing mayhem on the residents.
The attacks, which spanned a period of two days – from Monday to Tuesday, left 20 persons dead with many others injured, according to Samuel Ortom, governor of the state.
However, there were reports that up to 50 persons were killed in the attacks.
The assailants were said to have invaded the communities around 9pm on Monday, reportedly attacked the community till around 4am on Tuesday, shooting indiscriminately and burning down houses.

The affected communities were Gaambe-Tiev, Ayilamo and Turan all in Logo LGA as well as Umenger, Tse-Akor and Tomatar in Guma LGA.
Ortom later disclosed that out of the number of those killed, nine were livestock guards who were to enforce the state’s anti-open grazing law.
The law bans open grazing in the state.
But while reacting to the attacks, the governor said the law was not targeted at any ethnic group and wondered why the herdsmen had “taken it so personal to the point of unleashing terror on the people.”

JANUARY 4:
Rivers: Aftermath of a cult rivalry
A suspected cultist attack in the morning of Thursday had left blood trailing behind in Egbeda community, Emohua local government area of Rivers state.
Although the state police command had said one person died, unconfirmed reports had it that up to three persons lost their lives in the incident.
Nnamdi Omoni, spokesman of the command, had also said the attack left unconfirmed number of persons injured.
“It has to do with cult rivalry; (it was) against themselves,” he had told TheCable.

Cult killings spill over to Cross River
At least two people were killed on Thursday in what was suspected to be a cult clash in Boki local government area of Cross River state.
The attack occurred in Iso Bendege community.
A witness had said trouble had begun when a suspected cult leader slapped the member of a rival gang at a public function in the community.
The person slapped was said to have retaliated before the situation went out of hand as the two groups reportedly attacked each other with charms, dangerous weapons as gunshots rocked the air.
One of the policemen deployed to restore peace in the area later sustained gunshot injuries, according to Irene Ugbo, spokesperson of the state police command.

JANUARY 5:
Ebonyi: Stadium of sorrow
What started as any other football match in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state later ended up in serious fracas which claimed the life of one Obinna Igwe.
The football match was between Ndufu Alike and Ndufu Echara teams, competing in the final of a Unity Cup competition, organised by, John Nnabo, the council’s boss.
According to an eyewitness’ account, trouble had started when the centre referee issued a red card to an Ndufu Alike player, which eventually resulted in his team conceding a goal in the second half.
“The Ndufu Alike team and its fans were displeased with the development as the dismissed player surged towards the referee and attacked him, joined by his team-mates and fans.”
In the ensuing fracas, Igwe was “incidentally” shot by one of the police officers who were mobilized to the scene to restore order.

Taraba: Family of five gone in one fell swoop
Seven people were reportedly killed when unknown gunmen invaded communities in Wukari and Gassol local government areas of Taraba state.
Among those killed were a family of five who were attacked by the gunmen in their  farm in Jandeikyula village, Wukari.
Another unidentified individual was shot dead in his house, still in Wukari, while in Gassol, one person was also reportedly attacked in his house in Dan-Anacha town, and was killed.
Not much detail of the attacks could be verified as at the time they occurred.

JANUARY 6:
Taraba: ‘15’ persons killed at daybreak
At about 6am on Saturday, 15 persons were reportedly killed by suspected militia in some communities in Taraba state.
The affected communities were Babagasa, Donadda and Katibu, which shared common boundary with Adamawa, all in Lau local government area of the state.
While Bello Isa, a resident of Katibu, who escaped the attack, told NAN that 15 persons lost their lives in the attack, the state police command said four persons died in the incident.
David Misal, spokesman of the command, had also said those that carried out the attacks were yet be identified, and that no arrest has been made as at Saturday morning.
A mass burial was later organized by the deceased later in the day at the Jalingo Cemetery.

Benue: Another 11 killed by ‘herdsmen’
At least 11 people lost their lives when suspected herdsmen returned to a village in Benue state on Saturday.

The attack was the second in the space of four days after some herdsmen killed a reported number of 20 persons in the state.

The latest attack, which occurred at Tombu, a village in Logo local government area, was said to have been carried out in the early hours of Saturday when the villagers were still asleep.
According to eyewitnesses, the assailants had invaded the village, burning down houses and shooting indiscriminately.

On the heels of the attack and previous ones, Ibrahim-Idris, inspector-general of police, ordered the deployment of additional investigative teams to Benue as well as Rivers state.

He said the deployment followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to the police to beef up security across the country.

Also, the president had earlier ordered the police to intensify efforts to fish out perpetrators of the various killings. But for how long? Only time will tell.

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