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Benue Onche, Makurdi
There is palpable fear in Okpokwu local government area of Benue state where four persons believed to be natives of Okpoga and Ingle were killed in a clash between a gang of suspected armed robbers and members of the vigilante group in the area.
Punch gathered that trouble started when the leader of the gang which was been terrorising Okpoga was arrested and detained at the police headquarters in Makurdi and members of the gang accused the vigilante group of reporting their leader to the police.
It was learnt that members of the gang killed a member of the vigilante group, thereby sparking off retaliation from the vigilante group which allegedly killed a member of the gang even as their leader was still in detention.
On discovering that the deceased member of the vigilante group in Okpoga was a native of a nearby village called Ingle in Edumoga district, trouble started between Okpoga and Ingle people who retaliated as a commercial motorcycle rider found himself in the area.
In all, four persons were killed between Monday and Wednesday as drums of war began to sound at the boundary between Okpoga, headquarters of Okpokwu local government and Ingle, a stone throw from Okpoga.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Moses Yamu, said four persons were killed and that six police patrol teams have been dispatched to the area to forestall further breakdown of law and rider.
Yamu sad the area commander in Otukpo has been directed by he police commissioner to ensure the return of peace and called on those fleeing their abodes to return as the police have brought he situation under control.
Meanwhile, the Idoma socio-cultural group known as Opiatoha K’Idoma has condemned the spate of killings going on in Okpokwu even as it expressed worry that peace was gradually eluding the once quiet area with some hoodlums turning the place into a theatre of war.
In a statement jointly signed by its President and Secretary General, Chief Baba Odangla and Chief Adoka Adaji, Opiatoha K’Idoma urged security agencies to rise up to the occasion of fishing out those behind the mayhem as a matter of urgency,
“There must be a stop to this anti Idoma behaviour hence the culprits should not be provided shelter by any group; we admonish our communities to live in peace with one another and eschew bitterness, the carnage in Agatu is still fresh in our minds to witness any form of violence in any part of Idoma land”, the socio-cultural organisation maintained.
Source: Punch News