Benue Crisis: ‘I Watched In Horror As They Slaughtered My Daughter Like An Animal’

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Not a few are still in shock and alarmed by Good Friday’s horrendous armed herdsmen murder of about 40 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and members of their host community in a camp at the LGEA Primary School Mgban, in Nyiev Council Ward of Guma Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State.

On that fateful day, according to an eyewitness, the armed marauders stormed the community, which had a police checkpoint located directly opposite the camp on the stretch of the Makurdi-Lafia road, at about 9 pm.

They came shooting sporadically after obviously overpowering the police personnel on stop-and-search duty at the time.
The invasion took the entire community unawares and left in its trail the death of women, many of them pregnant, children and the elderly in the IDP camp and host community who could not flee before the gunmen got to them.

Not spared by the invaders was the traditional ruler of the community, the Tyoor Nyiev, Chief Bernard Shawa, who, aside losing his two children, also had his cars and motorcycles vandalised and burnt.

Findings indicated that the majority of those killed were mowed down by the armed men in one of the classrooms which was converted to a sleeping space for the IDPs.

They were reportedly shot and killed in their sleep like common criminals on death row.

Just few of them actually made it out of the classroom alive but the majority of those are battling for their lives in the hospital.
The attack also left about 40 others in critical condition with many of them suffering bullet and machete wounds.

Ordeal
Some of the IDPs who survived the attack, including the District Head of the community who lost two children, Shawa,, narrated their ordeal and gave a heart-rending account of how they miraculously survived the attack and how their loved ones were gunned down by the marauders in their presence.

In his account, Shawa, amid wailing and crying from families in the community, narrated how the armed herdsmen stormed the community between 9 and 10 pm on the said day, saying, “I was sitting outside with my children when we started hearing gunshots from across the road.

“We were all shocked and we started running to escape from the armed men. Unfortunately, two of my children, a boy and a girl, did not make it, they could not escape; they were gunned down by the attackers.

“And because we have a checkpoint on the road, displaced persons normally take shelter at the LGEA Primary School. The gunmen also opened fire on the IDPs and people in the community, shooting and killing our people as they spoke their language.

“Before this particular invasion, they had also attacked our community on February 25, 2023. On that day they killed 12 of our people.”

Throat cut

On her part, a 35-year-old nursing mother of three, Mnena Okega, narrated how her daughter, 10, had her throat slashed by the daredevil marauders.

“We had all gone to sleep inside the classrooms where we sleep when we suddenly started hearing gunshots”, Okega said.

“Nobody knew what was happening, there was pandemonium, I started shouting the names of my children and urging them to wake up and run.

“My first daughter, who was 10 years old, was among the first to escape from the window. But, unfortunately, while she was running away thinking that she was escaping, she ran into the armed men who were moving around searching for who to kill.

“One of them caught her, and even as she cried for help pleading that they should spare her, one of them pulled out his knife and slashed the throat of my innocent daughter.

“It was a sight no mother would want to see. That was what they did to me. They killed my daughter who cried and begged for her live. They cut her throat like an animal.

“I could not help her because I was running with my other children and I thought that they will spare her, seeing that she was a small girl.

“I was wrong, they killed her in cold blood. I will live with the trauma all my life and it will be difficult to forgive the herdsmen and I know that the blood of my daughter will cry to God for justice.”

Another victim, 50 years old mother of four, Yina Jime, on her part, said she successful escaped with her children through divine intervention.

She said it was still a miracle that she was able to escape alive with her children after being chased into the bush by the marauders.

She said, “When the shooting started, we all started running. My children and I dashed into the nearby bush, but as we ran the invaders where chasing after us.

“We kept running but when we could not go any further, we decided to hide ourselves with dried bush and grass.

“At that point the attackers lost sight of us and could not trace many of us anymore. We remained under the grass till it was safe to come out after they had retreated. “Unfortunately several of our friends especially women and children were not spared, they were killed. And in some instances we had mothers killed with their children.

“It was a sad Good Friday for us at Mgban. They killed women and children who ran from their ancestral homes to seek refuge were killed in cold blood. And the only way to ensure that they did not die in vain is for the Federal Government to ensure that their killers are arrested and prosecuted.”


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Francis Adegoke is an astute Publisher, Professional Journalist, PR Expert, Experienced E-commerce, Digital Media and Marketing Strategist.


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