A sad occurrence has been recorded at Atsenga village in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State as an aged woman was reportedly burnt alive in her house, in an attack allegedly carried out by armed Jukum militia from neighbouring Kente community, in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State.
It was also gathered that the militia killed four other people in the attack with over 300 houses, huts and farmland razed.
An eyewitness account told ivotesng.com that the crisis was sparked off by a minor disagreement between a young Tiv and his Jukum friend at Atsenga, which later snowballed into a major communal fight.
According to the witness, “We have been living peacefully together in the border communities of Igbongum, Vaase, Gbeji, Kente and Atsenga without any problem, but from what we heard the whole thing started as a quarrel between two young men, who are friends, a Tiv man from Benue State and his Jukum friend from Taraba State, Monday afternoon, and before anybody knew what was happening the situation got out of hand and the border community was on fire.
“From what we heard, as a result of the altercation, the Jukum young man went and mobilised his brothers, who invaded Atsenga with arms, shooting and killing anything in sight.
“They also went as far as burning down houses, cars, food barns and huts, including farmlands. In one of the burnt houses, an aged woman, one Mama Yanenge, who could not escape, was burnt alive in her house while four other persons were either hacked or shot dead by the invading armed Jukum youths.
“As we speak over 300 houses and huts have been burnt while some are still on fire. The sounds of sporadic gunshots can also still be heard from within the community while residents have all fled their homes for fear of being killed.”
It was gathered that the Chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, Mr. Ibellogo Tor-Tyokaa, who visited the affected area to access the situation, alongside his Wukari counterpart, escaped death narrowly after running into a gun battle by the armed youths.
“They were rescued by the military personnel, who were drafted from Gbeji to the area to quell the crisis. It was the military that guarded and led them out of the area,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mrs. Catherine Anene, said the command was still expecting details of the crisis from the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Ukum Local Government Area.
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