An attack on Tuesday evening, July 20, 2021 by an armed gang suspected to be members of the notorious Bonta Boys left a traditional ruler dead and 50 houses burnt in Ochoro community, Oju Local Government Area in Benue State, North-central Nigeria.
During the attack, a yet to be ascertained number of villagers were also killed by the attackers while others were abducted.
Ogede Isaac, a resident, told HumAngle that the attackers invaded the community in the evening of Tuesday, adding that Okpe Denis Ijoko, the traditional ruler of the community was kidnapped while taking his bath. He was later killed by the armed gang.
“Chief Okpe was taking his bath when they invaded the community and he was kidnapped alongside an eight-year-old boy,” Isaac said.
Isaac said the armed gang came back to the community after they had executed the traditional ruler, adding that they opened fire on anything on sight including women and children when they came back.
He told HumAngle that not less than 50 houses were set on fire by the attackers.
Andyson Ijih Egbodo, another resident, said that the attackers came heavily on the community and wreaked havoc.
According to Egbodo, the number of persons killed could not be ascertained because it was not safe to go to the community.
“As I am talking to you, I can’t possibly tell the number of people killed, neither am I sure of the number of houses burnt but the report has it that about 50 houses were burnt.” He said.
He continued, “The crisis took my brother and my uncle already and I am afraid we will be killed sooner or later. The chief of the community and all his children have been killed, what about us?”
According to him, the attack was linked to the age long war between Ukpute community and Bonta community over land demarcation.
“We can’t lay hold on what offense we have committed, nor have we ever fought with them. It could be that they took us as Ukpute and decided to weed us as they did to the Ukpute community,” Egbodo said.
As of the time of filing this report, it was not clear where those displaced by the attack were settled. Sources say they have been wandering around forests.
When contacted, Catherine Sewuese, Police Public Relations Officer in Benue State told HumAngle that she was yet to receive any information about the attack.
The Bonta Boys armed group was initially a community vigilante group but has turned into a terror group that now extorts money and also reported to be having links with other terror groups.
The group came into the limelight on April 8, 2021 when its fighters intercepted and killed 11 soldiers of the Nigerian Army and a captain in a forest in Bonta community.
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