Victims narrate how Killer herdsmen invaded Benue communities, killed, maimed in midnight attack
Victims of suspected killer Fulani herdsmen have narrated how the gunmen invaded their communities in Benue state, killing and inflicting injuries on residents.
In the small wee hours of Sunday, May 30, 2021, suspected killer Fulani herdsmen, in large numbers, invaded three border communities of Benue State, killing and inflicting gunshot and machete injuries on the residents.
Five among the scores of victims spoke with PUNCH about the gory midnight attack from their sickbeds at the Federal University Teaching Hospital 2, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital.
What’s your name?
My name is Chinyere Uduka. I am from Nwori Nwaobasi community in the Ado Local Government Area of Benue State.
How old are you and what do you do for a living?
I am 23 years old; I am a trader.
How did these injuries on your body come about?
Some assailants invaded our community and inflicted machete injuries on us, while shooting sporadically at the same time.
What day and what time did these assailants invade your community?
It was in the morning of Sunday, May 30, 2021, at exactly 3.30am. All my sisters and I were fast asleep when they came and what woke me up was the heavy bang on our door. Opening my eyes, I saw flashes of torchlight. Before I knew what was happening, they (assailants) started inflicting machete cuts on us. We were scared and we started jumping out through the windows. As we were running, they started shooting. I was shot in the leg. And that’s why I’m here in the hospital. I can’t walk now.
How many were these assailants that invaded your village?
There were very many of them; the Fulani herdsmen that attacked us were up to 300 in number. They struck when everyone was deeply asleep; they attacked us and burnt down houses in the community.
Fulani attackers left me, thinking I was already dead – Methodist pastor
What’s your name?
My name is Rev Item Elijah. I am from Umuezekoha community in the Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, but I am based in Nwaobasi community in the Ado LGA of Benue State. I am a minister at the Methodist Church there.
How old are you and what happened to you?
I am 49 years old. It was on Sunday when some people, in fact they are Fulani herdsmen, invaded Nwaobasi. They came between 3am and 4am and they surrounded my house and started breaking the doors and windows. I was inside my room with my daughter.
When I noticed that they had surrounded my house, I jumped out through the window; I fell down and one of them descended on me and used his machete on my head. I tried to run, but I couldn’t and they continued to inflict machete cuts on me.
How did you manage to escape?
I made efforts to run again, they all gathered and inflicted more machete cuts on me. At this point, my strength started failing me. And I heard one of them say, ‘He is dead’; so, they left me. After a while, I raised my head and I did not see them again, but all I could see around and all over me was blood.
How were you able to get out of the place?
I managed to enter into one compound. And in that compound, I didn’t see anybody, but was only hearing cries of little children. I’m sure the parents of those kids would have been killed before then. Seeing that nobody came out of the compound, I decided to move up the road. It was on the road that I saw one Chukwudi, who, on seeing my condition, carried me on his motorcycle to a popular village square, where I remained until people started coming there with dead bodies and injured loved ones.
What about your daughter and maid; what happened to them?
I didn’t see my child throughout that Sunday. I even thought they killed her and my little maid. But it was the following day, being Monday that I saw my daughter in the hospital alongside over 50 others who were brought here by the Ebonyi State Government. However, up till this very moment I have not seen my maid. I’m no longer comfortable that I have not seen her. I’m sure they must have killed her.
What’s your name?
My name is Udoh Okonobong. I am from Akwa Ibom, but I’m currently based in Odoke community in Ado LGA of Benue State. I served in that LGA as a corps member.
What happened to your hand?
Like I said, I served in Odoke community in Benue State. But after my service year, I decided to stay back to help some students in their lessons. It was as early as 4 o’ clock on Sunday morning, May 30, 2021; we were woken up by men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. They smashed my door and all I could see then were flashes of torchlight. The attackers were many. We were two in the room. They had cutlasses and guns.
How did you manage to escape?
When they cut me the first time, I pushed the door back at them; they retreated and I moved behind the door and hid. At this point, my roommate had already escaped. I didn’t hear any noise again, and so I ran out through the back door, then one of them cut me on my right hand. But even at that, I didn’t relent and I tried to run. I ran so hard and fled into a bush. That was how I managed to escape. At this point, my right palm was already falling off because the cut was deep. So, I waited in the bush till 6am before I started looking for someone to help me tie my hand because it was falling off and I was losing so much blood. It was one lady that eventually came, saw my condition and used her wrapper to tie my hand.
Invaders killed my father, three siblings – Wounded Benue teenager
What is your name?
My name is Udaga Lebechi, I’m from Odoke community in the Ado LGA of Benue State.
How old are you?
I am 13 years old.
What happened to your hands?
It was the Fulani people that attacked us at Odoke community in the Ado Local Government Area of Benue State. They came around 3am on Sunday. They were many. We were all inside our house sleeping that early morning. They came with torches, cutlasses and guns. As they were shooting, they were also using their machetes on us. Three of my siblings and I were attacked. They killed many people in our community and many of our people are still missing. They killed my father and my three younger siblings.
You said your father and your siblings were killed. Where do you plan to go to when the hospital discharges you?
For now, I cannot go back to our village; going there is dangerous. But maybe in the future I will go back with my loved ones, if necessary things, like security, are put in place.
Over half of our community population killed–Hospitalised farmer
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Steven Nwali; I’m from Obakotara community in the Ado LGA of Benue State.
How old are you and what is your occupation?
I am 34 years old; I am a farmer.
What happened in your community on Sunday, May 30?
I can’t talk much, right now. As you can see, I have wounds all over my body, and they are really aching; I don’t have enough strength.
Sorry about that.
Thank you… Well, all I can say is that I’m from Ishieke Obakotara. I’m based in Odoke community in Ado Local Government Area of the state. But we are neither in Benue State nor in Ebonyi State.
On May 30, 2021 herdsmen attacked the community at about 2.30am on that Sunday. There were more than 300 of them. They killed our people; and in fact they killed more than half of the population of the community.
Were you shot?
Yes, I was shot. As you can see, currently I can’t walk or sit down, because of the bullet wounds on my body. It was a terrible situation. Government should intervene.
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