By Achor Abimaje, Kareem Haruna, Solomon Ayado
The harvest of deaths has continued in parts of Nigeria: 75 innocent Nigerians have been murdered in Benue, Borno and Plateau states at the weekend.
In Gbajimba town, the headquarters of Guma local government area of Benue State, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen killed no fewer than 36 people.
Churches and schools were burnt, just as shops and some government properties including the secretariat situated in the centre of the town were torched. The place is now totally deserted.
The supervising Minister of Aviation and Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Mr Samuel Ortom hails from the affected local government area of the state.
Until yesterday, Gbajimba was the only place that was yet to be attacked in the entire local government area. Since the day Governor Gabriel Suswam’s convoy was attacked in the area, the homes of the supervising minister of aviation, Mr Samuel Ortom, and commissioner for lands and survey, Mr John Tondo, have been destroyed.
LEADERSHIP gathered that, about noon yesterday, the invaders stormed the council headquarters, shooting and burning houses in the process.
The council chairman, Frank Usa- Adi, who narrated the incident at the Accident and Emergency wing of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, yesterday, said the attackers shot sporadically and killed scores of people. Adi, who escaped death by a whisker, accused the police of showing levity. The gunmen came, killed, burnt houses and quickly left the place without security interference, he said.
“The attack this afternoon is very unfortunate and this is the most ugly attack Guma local government has ever witnessed because Gbajimba is the headquarters; and for the gunmen to have invaded and razed the place, something is actually fishy. The police abandoned us.
Houses and other places were burnt and we have managed to convey scores of persons killed by the attackers to this mortuary, and those injured were also brought to this Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) for urgent medical attention. Others are moved to Abinsi and in Northbank areas,” Usa-Adi said.
At the BSUTH yesterday, survivors of the heinous attack who received various injuries and those that lost their dear ones in the invasion were seen looking devastated at the entrance of the Emergency wing of the hospital. The personal physician to Governor Suswam, Dr Marcelinus Ortese, an indigene of the area, was also at the hospital to render medical assistance to the injured.
The police public relations officer, SP Daniel Ezeala, confirmed the attack but said “the command will brief newsmen when the casualty number is ascertained”. He added that men of the police were deployed to the place to maintain peace.
Deadly market explosion kills 32 In Borno
Hospital and local government officials in Bama local government area of Borno State yesterday said the death toll from the Thursday bomb blast in Ngurosoye village market had risen to 32, as more victims died in hospital.
A hospital source in Bama town where most of the injured traders that survived the blast were taken for treatment said aside the 29 people that got killed in the blast, another three seriously injured died within Friday and Saturday while receiving medication for their injuries.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said seven other injured victims of the attack with serious cases had been referred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital for treatment, “because their cases were beyond our capacity here in the hospital”.
Telecommunication networks were suddenly shut down at exactly 3pm on Sunday, even as LEADERSHIP gathered from impeccable military sources that “the shutdown has to with an ongoing operation”.
A bomb planted in the market and detonated by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Ngurosoye village market had on Thursday left many dead and injured.
Security sources had earlier put the death toll at “16 deaths and several injured victims”; but later, local government officials announced that 29 people died in the blast.
Ngurosoye is a village not more than 30km away from Bama town. A top security person who confirmed the incident to LEADERSHIP Friday said “the bomb was unfortunately planted in the market even before the traders began to arrive for their normal weekly trading. It was very bad because about 16 people were killed in the market while several others sustained injuries”.
7 Cattle rustlers killed in Wase LGC of Plateau
In a related development, at least eight people have been killed in Wase local government area of Plateau State when a group of cattle rustlers attempted to rustle cattle two kilometres away from Wase town.
LEADERSHIP investigations revealed that seven cattle rustlers were killed while a young man from Wase town was shot by security operatives when he was seen carrying arms but resisted arrest.
Sources from Wase town told our correspondent that cattle rustlers allegedly from Kadarko area in the same council had attacked some herders on Saturday evening.
The herders had then sought refuge in Wase town. Later there was a shootout between the rustlers and the youths from Wase town.
Ibrahim Audu Wase told our correspondent that “our youths tried to repel the rustlers and it led to a shootout which claimed the lives of seven rustlers”.
Audu explained: “I think those who escaped went back to tell other members because around 7am (yesterday) they came back with reinforcement and there was sporadic shootings.
“We saw them approaching Wase town and so we armed ourselves and went to repel them.”