Fulani herdsmen open Fire on Gov. Suswam
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, Monday, was ambushed by Fulani herdsmen who engaged his security aides in exchange of gunfire at Tee‑Akanyi village in Guma local government area of the state.
This was just after the rampaging invaders had sacked about 64 villages on the Daudu‑Gbajimba axis of the council, killing no fewer than 37 persons whose corpses still littered the invaded communities.
In his reaction, former PDP chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, representing Benue North East Senatorial District alleged that those behind the invasion and killing of the people of Tiv and Idoma of Benue State were mercenaries from neighbouring African countries of Chad, Mali and Cameroon that had been contracted to destabilize the country.
Governor Suswam had alongside journalists, speaker of the state House of Assembly, Terhile Ayua, the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Adams Audu and his team, soldiers, and other security personnel embarked on an assessment tour of communities recently invaded by the herdsmen on Daudu‑Gbajimba road.
At Uikpam‑Mbabai, the governor and his team discovered that the marauders had attacked and pulled out of the community that morning, after razing houses and barns and beheading about 30 persons whose remains were left behind in several houses and huts.
Soldiers pull out of Suswam's convoy
The governor and his team were, however, taken aback when the military personnel on the tour decided to pull out of the tour on the grounds that they were not detailed to travel with the team to Gbajimba.
The decision of the soldiers did not deter the governor who insisted on making the trip to Gbajimba without the military personnel.
It was while the governor's convoy was heading to Umenger village, a distance of about 20km from Daudu, that the team discovered that the herdsmen had completely taken over all the villages on that axis, razing and looting property of the locals who had deserted their homes.
Convoy runs into fresh attack
The convoy, however, ran into a fresh attack at Tse‑Akenyi village where fire was still burning in several houses in the community, while the attackers continued with the looting of property of their victims.
The entourage did not realise that the marauders had taken cover in some of the abandoned houses. While Governor Suswam alighted from his car and was busy inspecting the level of destruction in the community, heavy gunfire started raining from nearby bushes.
The gunfire sparked a battle between the security personnel on the governor's entourage and the invaders who took cover in nearby bushes.
The exchange of gunfire lasted almost one hour. Governor Suswam was, however, safely spirited into his official vehicle by his security detail when the shooting subsided and was driven to Gbajimba, the local government headquarters, where he addressed some of the fleeing locals and displaced persons.
Speaking to the aggrieved people, Suswam lamented the spate of attacks on the people of the state by Fulani herdsmen, assuring the displaced persons that government would not abandon them in their time of grief.
Meantime, on his way back from the assessment tour, Governor Suswam picked and conveyed the remains of some of the beheaded victims to the mortuary in Makurdi, the state capital.