Bandits Kill 13 Passengers in Benue Community

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A bus conveying 13 passengers from Gbajimba in Guma local government area of Benue state was yesterday ambushed at Ajir village by Bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen with nine of the occupants reportedly killed or missing.

A source said that the incident has left all commuters travelling to and out of Gbajimba stranded, as commercial motor operators have withdrawn all their vehicles on that route.

According to the source, "the occupants who were mostly native Tiv farmers were travelling from Gbajimba to Makurdi at about 11am when the heavily armed herdsmen waylaid and opened fire on them, killing two on the spot. Four of the passengers managed to escape, while seven others were chased into the bush by the assailants.

"Our fear at the moment is that those that were chased into the bush might have been killed because no one knows their whereabouts and their families are yet to trace them.

"The search for them is still continuing but we are scared that they might have been killed because if they are still alive, we would have seen at least one of them," he said.

When contacted, Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Superintendent of Police Daniel Ezeala disclosed that the Benue state Commissioner of Police had directed an immediate investigation into the matter.

According to Ezeala, "The assailants killed one of the occupants on the spot after shooting sporadically into the bus, but our men recovered another corpse in the bush.

"The Benue state Commissioner of Police has directed an immediate search of the entire area to ensure that the missing persons are traced and rescued. And security has already been beefed in the community," he added.

In the meantime, most of the inhabitants of the community which is less than seven kilometers from the heart of Makurdi have all started fleeing into Makurdi town for safety.

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