The peaceful atmosphere of Ukum Local Government Area in Benue State has been disrupted by a recent surge in violent incidents. Reports confirm that a distressing series of killings, including the tragic murders of six individuals, has unfolded in the Chito community. Among the victims were a beer parlour operator and a young man who had been eagerly preparing for his upcoming wedding. This wave of violence has also been accompanied by unsettling developments, such as the establishment of a roadblock along the Agboki settlement axis, effectively rendering the road impassable.
This unsettling situation follows closely after a spate of militia clashes in the LGA, which resulted in approximately 10 fatalities. In addition to the loss of life, these clashes inflicted damage upon a local market and numerous properties, and further creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
Residents of the affected area are now grappling with a palpable sense of unease. Witnesses report that the violence has forced the District Head of Chito, Tor Ngene, and members of the community to flee in order to escape the menacing armed gangs responsible for the turmoil. The resulting disruption has also led to a halt in economic activities, casting a shadow over the local economy.
A local resident lamented saying, “These areas were once vibrant centers of agricultural activity, contributing significantly to the production of yam and other food items. However, due to the prevailing circumstances, farmers have abandoned their fields, uncertain of what the future holds,” he stated.
Over the past weekend, a tragic incident unfolded where six individuals, including a young man who is planning for his wedding, were ambushed and lost their lives. Additionally, a separate incident occurred in which the proprietor of a drinking establishment in Chito was brutally murdered by a gang of armed men. The motive behind the killing was a perceived association with a rival group.
The consequences of these acts of violence have been stark. Chito, which was once a bustling community, now stands deserted due to the ongoing reprisal attacks carried out by these armed gangs.
Local community leaders have voiced their concern and disappointment, particularly towards the political representatives from the area. These leaders, including a Senator and State Assembly member, have been called upon to address the escalating violence. Their perceived lack of action has left residents feeling abandoned in their time of need.
The local police authorities have yet to release an official statement regarding these recent incidents. As Ukum LGA navigates these challenging times, the community’s resilience is being tested as residents yearn for a return to normalcy and security of lives and properties.
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