DESPITE several reports that 36 persons were massacred in Benue State on Friday, the Nigeria Police Force has said that there were no such killings in the state.
Earlier on Friday, there had been reports on traditional and social media that showed pictures of 36 persons allegedly killed by herders in the state.
The pictures, which trended with over 10,000 posts on Twitter, showed many lifeless bodies surrounded by some residents.
However, the Benue State Police Command has said there were no such killings..
Benue Police Command Spokesperson Anene Catherine denied the reports in a statement seen by The ICIR on Friday evening titled, ‘Alleged massacre in Kastina-Ala: Police action.’
According to the police, following viral reports of the event, the command deployed officers to villages in Michihe Council Ward, Kastina-Ala Local Government Area, to ascertain the authenticity of the reports, but no corpse was found.
“Upon arrival at the Council ward, the detectives observed that they were no corpses or graves to signify any form of burial and no official reports have been made to the police in the area,” the statement read in part.
Anene stated that more police operatives had been deployed to the area for routine patrols and surveillance.
Against the command’s position, The Vanguard had reported that the assailants had attacked the village in the midnight where they shot sporadically and killed some of the residents.
“In their usual manner, the attackers operated for about 15 minutes after which they pulled out and 36 persons were found dead, most of them were butchered like animals which is their usual style of killing their victims,” the source told The Vanguard.
- Killings of civilians by herdersmen in the state has been prevalent as more than 100 persons have been killed in one month.
A coalition of civil society organisations had earlier on Friday said no fewer than 130 persons were recently massacred in Benue and Plateau states.
The coalition said President Muhammadu Buhari appeared unwilling to provide leadership to address the insecurity challenges facing the country.
Similarly, Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom had advised the residents of the state to defend themselves by obtaining licences for dane guns and other unprohibited arms.