55 persons were killed, yesterday, afternoon in one of the bloodiest clashes between Tiv youths and suspected Fulani mercenaries at Gbajimba, the headquarters of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
The latest fighting in Benue is coming on the heels of the recent sacking of Tse Ortom-Adorogo, home town of the Minister of State for Trade and Investment and Supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr. Samuel Ortom, after Governor Gabriel Suswam’s convoy had also been attacked on that axis by the invaders.
The suspected mercenaries stormed Gbajimba, yesterday morning but were repelled by armed Tiv youths who engaged them in a bloody fight, according to Vanguard.
“They came in their numbers very early this morning from Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State and made an attempt to seize the town and the local government secretariat but they were confronted by our youths who resisted them, forcing them to beat a retreat,” an eyewitness was quoted as saying.
“Just this afternoon at about 1 o’clock, they staged a more coordinated attack on the town, this time they came in their hundreds, shooting, burning down houses, huts and killing anything in sight.
“The Police station in Gbajimba is helpless because we have less than 50 officers and men on ground at the station and this attack has completely overwhelmed them.
“As I speak, serious fighting is still going on in Gbajimba. About 55 persons may have been killed on both sides because corpses of the dead litter the invaded communities. So many of our people are also missing at this moment.
“But from the look of things, if security personnel do not quickly mobilise into the town, the invaders may succeed in taking over the ancient town after sacking close to 100 villages in the local government area in the last few weeks.
“Our fear is that if Gbajimba is allowed to fall into the hands of these marauders, it could be used as a launching pad to attack Makurdi which is just a few minutes drive from the ancient town,” the eyewitness said.
Confirming the attack, Police spokesperson, Superintendent Daniel Ezeala said: “We gathered that there is serious fighting in Gbajimba right now but I’m yet to get a formal briefing on the matter.”