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Cattle herders kill 16 villagers in fresh Benue attack

March 8, 2024

Governor Alia, while commiserating with victims of the attack, said the killers must be punished for the crime.

Sixteen people were killed on Thursday during a massacre by cattle herders at Wa-ndoo, a community in Mbalom, Gwer-East Local Government Area of Benue State.

The herders reportedly invaded the community at about 7 p.m. while some of the residents were having their supper, Tersoo Adagher, a survivor, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Friday.

Mr Adagher said he lost four family members in the attack.

“The herders invaded the community with guns and machetes. Then they began shooting indiscriminately. I took cover in the bushes. But by this morning (Friday), we have recovered 16 corpses, including that of a child,” Mr Adagher narrated.

Sewuese Anene, police spokesperson in Benue State, did not respond to calls and SMS seeking comments on the incident.

But, the state governor, Hyacinth Alia, confirmed the killings.

“Armed herders last Thursday, 7th March 2024, at about 7:00 p.m. invaded the Wa-ndoo community in Mbalom of Gwer-East Local Government and killed scores of natives,” Mr Alia said in a statement.

Governor vows to bring perpetrators to justice

Mr Alia, while commiserating with victims of the attack, said the killers must be punished for the crime.

“He assures that his government will not sleep until the armed herders who perpetrated the heinous act are caught and brought before the law,” a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Tersoo Kula, said on Friday.

The governor directed security operatives in the state to arrest “the criminal herders.”

“We gave these criminals orders to leave the state immediately. We also gave an ultimatum to those practising open grazing in the state to ensure they comply with the law or leave the state within 14 days.

“That ultimatum has since elapsed. I can see what happened at Wa-ndoo is a calculated attempt to test the resolve of my government over the matter I have already given priority,” Mr Alia said.


Benue State in North-central Nigeria frequently experienced armed conflicts between herders and crop farmers that have killed or displaced many people.

In 2023, over 100 people were killed bysuspected herders in three local government areas of Agatu, Otukpo and Guma within five days.

In response to the spate of killings by armed herders in the state, the then-governor Samuel Ortom enacted the Anti-Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in 2017.

However, the legislation has not been effectively implemented to curtail open grazing by herders.

The current governor, Mr Alia, has vowed to enforce the law.


He said there is no going back on strict enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017).

Victims of Wa-ndoo massacre

These are the names of the victims of last night’s carnage in Wa-ndoo, as provided by the community.

1. Peter Tion,
2. Nyityo Kyoon,
3. Iorfa Ukombor,
4. Doopinen Awua,
5. Tyoshaa Mkaanem
6. Asan Ate
7. Asough Ate
8. Terzungwe Asoo Ate
8. MWO Mbatsavbun Gbatar (rtd)
9. John Ndahagh Tyohemba
10. Tertsea Ukombor
11. Akuma Kpenge
12. Abume Kpenge
13. Igba Byuan
14. Master Ter Byuan
15. Terzungwe Aulugh
16. A little boy whose name is not yet known




Curled from Premium Times

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