Relief may not be in sight for residents of some communities in the Guma Local Government Area of Benue State following a threatening message to people to vacate their ancestral homes or face an attack.
Tse Ahentse, Iye and Udei communities all in Guma were attacked on Tuesday and Thursday, leading to the death of 13 persons.
Our correspondent gathered that the marauding herders had issued a threat to people living in Torkula village in the same local government area to vacate the community or face dire consequences.
Torkula village is the ancestral home of the late paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, Alfred Torkula.
It was learnt that the suspected herdsmen dispatched two mercenaries to Torkula village on Wednesday and asked the people to vacate the village or be sacked.
“Two of the herders on Wednesday rode on a motorcycle and stormed our village, Tse Torkula, and issued a threat asking us to leave our village or face dire consequences,” a villager, who identified himself as Udenyi, said.
Confirming the threat to our correspondent on the phone on Friday, the Chairman of the local government, Caleb Aba, said palpable fear has gripped the people of the village as a result of the threat.
“Yes, they (Fulani herdsmen) sent two mercenaries after an attack on Tse Ahentse on Tuesday and other attacks on Idye fish pond and same yesterday (Thursday), there was an attack on a community close to Yelwata. Two Fulani mercenaries came to Tse Torkula village that they were sent by their leaders to come and inform them to leave the Torkula village or stand the risk of being invaded,” Aba said.
He also said security operatives had been informed about the development.
“The situation in the community is that there is fear of the unknown but they (herdsmen) have not come yet but we have reported the threatening message to security operatives. They are trying to investigate the threat by the leaders and they are already patrolling the area,” he added.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, had in a statement on Wednesday, titled, ‘Fulani Terrorists continue massacre of Benue farmers,’ confirmed the incident.
Ortom through his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said, “Eyewitness account said the Fulani terrorists who had earlier issued a threat to the Tse Torkula community, asking them to leave the village or face dire consequences came on motorcycles and without any herd of cattle.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, were not successful as she didn’t respond to calls and messages sent to her phone as of the time of filing this report.