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Gunmen kill 3-month-old baby, 12 others in Benue village

A three-month-old baby and 12 adults were shot dead by gunmen in separate incidents in some villages of Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

Sources confirmed that the gunmen, who were alleged to be herders, had opened gunfire on travellers on Uikpam–Umenger road around 3 pm on Tuesday, killing five people, including the infant. In the second incident, eight people were reportedly killed at Branch Ude at 10 pm on the same Tuesday.

Chairman of Guma LGA, Caleb Aba, who also confirmed the killings, said: “It is true that there was an attack yesterday (Tuesday). There was a burial in Torkula and people who were coming back from the burial came under attack and about five people were killed.

“At about 10 pm, yesterday there was another attack at Branch Ude where about eight people were killed, bringing the total to 13 people killed only yesterday.

“Two people were injured by the information I received and they are now receiving treatment in the hospital.”

A witness, David Mzer, said he was on his way with some friends in a car to Umenger for a political meeting when they observed that the vehicle in front of them was fired at severally, forcing them to turn back to Makurdi.

Mzer said the driver of the vehicle dodged the bullets and sped off to a safer location.

“The herdsmen blocked the road, and opened fire on a Toyota Picnic, killing a 3 month-old baby who was shot in the chest, and his mother was shot on her lap.

“My colleague, who was directly behind the Toyota Picnic on seeing the herders shot at the car in front of him, turned and returned to Uikpam.

“The herders didn’t stop there. A certain Terver from Uvir, who was conveying his wife, had their life taken from them. A certain Solomon Kumaiin was butchered by the killers.

“The body of Terver and his wife were immediately taken to a mortuary in Daudu, while the injured were brought to Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) for treatment,” he narrated.

At the BSUTH, two of the women who sustained gun wounds on their laps including the mother of the deceased 3-month-old explained what happened to them.

The deceased baby’s mother, Sewuese Baaji, said they (including other sympathisers) had travelled on Monday evening from Makurdi to Umenger village for the burial of her husband’s relative.

“We were on our way returning to Makurdi from Umenger village en route Torkula where the body of the late man was buried when we suddenly ran into an ambush by the gunmen who opened gunfire at our vehicle at about 3 pm just before Uikpam community.

“Our driver did not stop but drove in the midst of the chaos until we got off the attackers’ web.

“The bullets however hit my baby (whom I carried on my laps) on the chest and my lap too. My baby died instantly,” Baaji narrated.

Similarly, the other wounded woman, Hambafan Akuma, also carrying a baby, narrated that a bullet tore into her wrapper and wounded her on the thigh.

Akuma said fortunately, her baby was saved from the rains of the bullets opened on their vehicle by the gunmen who took them unawares.

Meanwhile, Baaji’s mother-in-law, Patricia Natiav, told our correspondent at the hospital that the dead baby had been taken to his father’s village in Gboko and buried.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive reports about the incident.

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