The killing of no fewer than 100 people in four council wards of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State at the weekend by gunmen would no doubt impact negatively on the production of yams and other food items in the country.
Most of the people attacked are rural farmers which are actively engaged in local production of assorted farm products that are usually transported to other states of the country.
People in the rural areas of the state where production of yams and other stable food items are produced are currently very apprehensive of their safety because of gunmen who move about with dangerous weapons that often attack them.
The gunmen unleashed terror on the communities which resulted in over 100 people being found dead, an eye witness said.
It was gathered that over 100 dead bodies have been recovered from many villages in the four wards which the gunmen attacked simultaneously between Saturday and Sunday.
It is unfortunate that by this time of year when new yams should have been out, non has been seen anywhere, Ayodeji Suleiman, a yam trader.
A good number of the able bodied farmers have also moved to other neigbouring states like Kogi, Enugu and Anambra States to settle there and do other menial jobs.
A spokesman of the Kastina-Ala council chairman, Tertsea Benga, alleged that the gunmen stormed several communities in the Mbayongo council ward in Katsina-Ala LGA about noon on Saturday and burnt down houses.
He listed the initially affected villages to include Vingir, Tse Nyipila and Tse Guji all in Mbayongo ward, adding that the attackers proceeded to Kenvanger in Mbatyula council ward on Sunday afternoon. Most of the corpses were recovered from the bush.
Benga further recalled that half of the communities in one of the affected locality, Yooyo council ward in the same Katsina Ala LGA, had earlier been sacked by the alleged armed invaders who killed many people then and in the latest invasion.
Confirming the incident, the Chairman of Kastina-Ala LGA, Alfred Atera, said that over 100 people have been killed within the weekend in the four council wards of Mbayongo, Yooyo, Utange and Mbatyula/Mberev in a coordinated attack.
Atera blamed the attack on the collaboration between suspected armed herders and ‘Gana boys’ [loyalists of the slain crime kingpin, Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as ‘Gana’], adding that security personnel, though doing their best, were however overwhelmed.
“More than100 people have been killed in different places.
“They [attackers] are killing and dropping as they are going on their way. Some people were able to claim the corpses for burial.
“I told the military that the attackers have developed a strategy; they are not attacking one place.
“If they attack a place now, the next thing you hear is that they are in Yooyo and at the same time they are attacking Utange, so the military is going here and there.
“There is no military connivance, but I’m suspecting the existence of bandits here,” Atera said.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Benue Command, DSP Catherine Anene, has not responded to calls or text messages as of the time of filing this report.