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Bandits kill IDP farmers in fresh attack




Bandits reportedly killed two farmers who were evicted from their ancestral houses in the Umogidi village of the Entekpa Council Ward in Benue State’s Otukpo Local Government Area.

Two more people were alleged to have been injured, while another was kidnapped by the bandits in a second onslaught.

Locals who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the deceased had recently evacuated their homes following a similar incident but had returned to their farms in Umogidi when they were killed on Tuesday.

The other three were also alleged to be on their fields when the bandits attacked and stole one of them, while the other two were reported to be hurt.

One of the villagers who spoke with journalists over the phone on Thursday remarked, “They (bandits) are now demanding N5 million as ransom for the kidnapped victim.

“All of these victims are IDPs who went to get food on their farms and were attacked by the same armed herders who chased them away from home in the first place.”

Alfred Omakwu, the interim chairman of Otukpo LGA, confirmed the event in a phone interview with journalists on Thursday, saying the victims were IDPs who went to the farm on Tuesday but were attacked.

He claimed that the bandits attempted to attack another village, Upu, in Otukpo on Wednesday but were repulsed by soldiers who engaged them in a gun battle from the afternoon until 7 p.m.

Omakwu said, “The IDPs are camped in St. Charles Primary School, while most of them, as they are going to their farms to fetch farm produce, rented one room for their family to stay in Adoka Central.

“They (the victims) left Adoka, where they were taking refuge, and went to their farms at Umogidi when they were attacked. Two of them were killed.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), there was another attack in Upu village. They (armed invaders) opened gunfire in the village; the soldiers were there, so they engaged them and chased them to the bush. They exchanged gunfire till 7 p.m., and they (the armed invaders) ran away. There was no casualty.”

Attempts to contact the state command’s spokesperson, Catherine Anene, were unsuccessful since her phone did not connect.