Killings: Benue govt imposes 24-hr curfew on Katsina-Ala

The Benue State government, on Monday, declared a 24-hour curfew on Katsina-Ala, to curb the continuous killings ongoing in the community.

The government said the 24-hour curfew on the community was in a bid to ensure the security of lives and property, while also restoring peace to the community.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the reason for the curfew was as a result of Saturday’s attack in which 11 people were killed, as well as the subsequent build-up of reprisal.

The state’s acting governor, Mr Benson Abounu, while imposing the curfew, urged the people of Katsina-Ala to cooperate with security operatives by obeying the curfew.

A statement issued by the press secretary to the acting governor of the state, Ede Ogaba Ede, said the curfew would be reviewed as the situation demand.

The government warned that anyone found fomenting trouble in the area or in other parts of the state would be punished according to the law.

The development has forced the governor, Samuel Ortom, to cut short his vacation, in order to attend to the security situation in the state.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said Ortom decided to cut short his vacation in order to join hands with major stakeholders to address the ongoing crisis in some parts of the state.

Governor Ortom proceeded on a two-week vacation penultimate Monday, and was expected back on April 29.

In his absence, the Tiv/Jukun crisis escalated, while gunmen’s attack on innocent people in the state assumed dangerous dimension.

The statement said the return of the governor became necessary following renewed killings of people and destruction of property by gunmen, especially in Sankera area of the state.

Ortom, while appealing for calm, assured the people of the affected areas that government would do everything possible to ensure the end of the crisis and guarantee their safety.

There was a reported attack, however, on Katsina-Ala community between Sunday and Monday, as militia armed with guns attacked Abaver and Tse Jabi areas of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, killing five people.

Both Abaver and Tse Abi communities are situated close to the College of Education (COE), in Katsina-Ala.

An eyewitness told the Nigerian Tribune that the militia also mistakenly shot at a woman.

The eyewitness said: “The militia, who were speaking in Tiv dialect said they were instructed not to shoot at women and children.

“The casualty figure would have been higher had residents of the communities not got wind of the attack and moved out of the area.

“As a result of the attack, several people have been displaced, with many of them now taking refuge in surrounding communities, particularly in Katsina-Ala township.”

The situation has thrown the town, as well as the College of Education (COE), into turmoil as most of the students staying outside the school have moved into the campus to take refuge.

As of the time of filing this report, the police command’s spokesman, Catherine Anene, however, said she could not confirm the Monday incident, except the killings in the community last Saturday.

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