No fewer than 13 residents of Edikwu, Ugbokpo community in Apa local
government area of Benue State have been killed in an early morning
attack by unknown gunmen alleged to have been hired by a defeated
aggrieved contender to the stool of the Alegwu of Edikwu.
Our correspondent gathered through the locals in the area that
the tussle over the stool of Alegwu of Edikwu dated back to 1994 and was
the cause of persistent killings in the community by armed militia
gangs allegedly hired by an aggrieved contender to the stool, name
withheld, who had been on self exile since the dispute began.
The police public relations officer (PPRO) DSP Catherine Anene who
confirmed the killings informed that over 20 hoodlums invaded the
community at about 4am yesterday shooting sporadically at all
directions killing 13 people on the spot with many others sustaining
various degree of injuries.
Anene disclosed that already a team of police officers has been
deployed to the scene, and so far 13 corpses have been
recovered adding that Investigation is still in progress.
Also confirming the killing the Alegwu of Edikwu, Chief Otokpa
David Imoni who spoke to our correspondent
disclosed that the hoodlums have killed over 30 persons.
According to him, the said man disagreed with the choice of the
kingmakers of the community who elected late Chief Imoni Otokpa as
Alegwu of Edikwu before his demise in 2018. He said that the son of late Imoni Otokpa
is the acting Alegwa of Edikwu, presently.
It was also gathered that latest attack on the community came just
three months after the state deputy governor, Mr. Benson Abounu on
behalf of Governor Samuel Ortom presided over a peace meeting of
stakeholders of the community where it was agreed that
feuding parties should sheath their swords and embrace peace.
Chief Otokpa David Imoni said the aggrieved contender had declared war
on his people with the active support of some local politicians and
had overtime sent armed militia to attack his people to compel them to
accept him as the traditional ruler even after taking the matter to
He said, “The present one took place this morning when hooded gun
wielding militiamen entered Ukpogbo community at about 4:30am and
began to shoot anything that showed sign of life. 30 dead bodies were
already found after their departure around 6:00am.”
It was gathered the Commander Of the Joint Military Operation in the
state, Operation Whirl Stroke, Major Gen. Adeyemi Yekini had already
deployed troops in the affected area to forestall further attacks.