Benue state Police Commissioner,Wale Abass has confirmed that the violent attacks which claimed the lives of at least 23 people including a policeman in Logo and Ukum local government area of Benue State were reprisal attacks by Fulani headers.
The dead include seventeen locals, five herders and one policeman.
Reports indicate that the locals killed five herders on Tuesday in three separate places and rustled cows, butchered and shared them in some communities around the Logo local government area of the state.
It was gathered that the Fulanis who returned on reprisal attack at Gbeji in the Ukum local government area of the state invaded the community, shot sporadically and killed 18 people including a policeman.
The State Commissioner of Police, Wale Abass who confirmed the separate attacks said that the crisis started on Tuesday and there was a reprisal on Wednesday.
According to the CP, “Two Fulanis were coming from Taraba and were on a Keke napep after the border line, they (locals) stopped them and were attacked and killed.
“Simultaneously, close to Anyiin in Logo local government another two Fulanis were attacked and killed, also at another village one of the herders rearing cows, they attacked and killed him thereafter (locals) rustled his cows, butchered and shared them.
“So when this happened and we got wind of it we are just planning to meet and placate the Fulanis through their leader, the Miyeitti Allah so as to avoid any reprisal attack unknown to us that they had their plan.
“So around 7 am on Wednesday, they (fulanis bombarded Gbeji and fired sporadically and unfortunately, a stray bullet hit one of our officers and died before being taken to the hospital.
The CP said that as of the time he spoke to our correspondent ten people including the policeman and five herders had lost their lives in the attacks.
He added that with the deployment of combined security operatives normalcy had returned to the Gbeji community and added that his men were on the trail of both the locals and suspected herders who perpetrated the evil.
Meanwhile, the security adviser to the governor, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba retd who spoke to newsmen later in the day confirmed death of 18 people including a policeman but claimed not to be aware of the killing of five herdsmen by the locals.
He said, “As for reprisal, I have not got any report yet about the killing of the Fulani. Am still trying to make an enquiry. I was woken up early at about 12:45am today and informed that an attack was ongoing at Gbeji.
“I alerted the security agencies and they all mobilised and responded to the distress call and that helped in reducing the casualty. The security agencies including the DSS all responded.