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Benue: Deadly clash between rival militia gangs claims 45 lives

Benue: Deadly clash between rival militia gangs claims 45 lives

Benue: Deadly clash between rival militia gangs claims 45 lives

A deadly clash has erupted between rival militia gangs in the Gbagir community of Ukum Local Government Area in Benue State, resulting in the death of 45 individuals.

The casualties included a family of seven.

The clash occurred on Tuesday and involved two rival groups: “Full Fire” and “Chain.”

While most of the victims were suspected local militias engaged in a fight for supremacy, at least 12 innocent farmers were caught in the crossfire.

Witnesses described the horrifying scene, emphasizing the terror it instilled in rural dwellers who witnessed the violence.

According to reports, trouble began when a Benue militia leader allegedly kidnapped a Taraba militia leader, Alhaji Gana, and his family members from a neighbouring community in Taraba State.

A demand for a ₦100 million ransom was made, but only ₦5 million was paid. Subsequently, the hostages were killed, leading to outrage among the Taraba militia.

In retaliation, another militia gang leader in Ukum joined forces with the Taraba militia to eliminate the rival gang in Ukum.

The combined forces moved into the Gbagir bushes, resulting in the violent clash on Tuesday morning.

The clash claimed the lives of over 45 individuals, predominantly bandits, with around 12 farmers caught in the crossfire.

Additionally, over 30 people sustained injuries, and some remain missing. A family of seven from Tse Adzandeh Mbasaa, Mbajiga, Ityuluv, Torov, identified as the Adzandeh family, tragically lost their lives.

The armed men expanded their presence to other areas, but the timely intervention of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) troops prevented them from entering residential areas.

While a military source confirmed the clash and acknowledged several dead bodies were recovered, the State Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Adesina, reported that five corpses had been officially documented.

 

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