*As gunmen kill 26 in Benue, Nasarawa, 8 securitymen in Rivers
*Invade Kaduna church, kill doctor, abduct several
*S/E leaders meet over worsening insecurity
By Ezeocha Nzeh, Blessing Ibunge (Port Harcourt) and Beauty John (Lafia)
It was a bloody Sunday as suspected herdsmen again attacked a community in Benue and Nasarawa states, killing no fewer than 26 persons.
This was as unknown gunmen same day killed eight security operatives at different checkpoints in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Also, bandits reportedly attacked a church in Manini Tasha village, Kuriga Ward in Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, with a medical doctor killed and unspecified number of worshipers abducted.
In Benue state, it was gathered that heavily armed gunmen attacked Tse-Ayeli village, Tse-Gborigyo and Udam in Mbayer-Yandev in Guma Local Government Area and left 17 persons dead.
The armed men stormed the communities shooting sporadically which led to the death of the victims.
Four bodies were recovered from Tse-Gborgyo – one from Tse-Ayeli and three from Udam, totalling eight, both in the Mbayer community.
Several people were reported to have sustained various degrees of injuries from the attack while scores were reported missing.
The attack took place two weeks after the bodies of 11 soldiers killed around Bonta community of Konshisha Local Government Area by unknown gunmen were recovered.
*Bandits attack Church, kill medical doctor, abduct several in Kaduna
In another development, bandits have attacked a Church in Manini Tasha village, Kuriga Ward in Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Eyewitnesses said the attack took place on Sunday morning and a medical doctor killed, while unspecified number of worshippers were abducted.
An eyewitness, who narrowly escaped, Mr. Yakubu Bala, said the heavily-armed bandits, stormed the church, surrounded the worshippers at about 9am and carried out the dastardly act.
According to him, “Dr. Zakariah Dogo Yaro, a medical doctor at the Kaduna State Ministry of Health was killed, while unspecified number of people were kidnapped, and several worshipers sustained varying degrees of injuries while fleeing the scene.
“As am speaking, we have not seen some of our villagers who ran into the bushes, during the shootings.
“We don’t know what happened that we are facing this kind of scenario in our peaceful communities. Most villagers are threatening to leave their homes because of the constant attacks on so many villages in Chukun Local Government,” Yakubu lamented.
*Gunmen killed eight security operatives in Rivers State
Killer gunmen have at different checkpoints in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, killed eight security operatives.
The AUTHORITY gathered that among the security personnel killed were three soldiers, three personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and two policemen.
The incident happened at about 3am Sunday, along the Elele/Omunwa/Omagwa and Isiokpo road, all in Ikwerre LGA.
It was learnt that the assailants carted away the service rifles of the deceased security personnel and burnt an operational vehicle belonging to the Customs in Elele, while the soldiers along Omagwa, were allegedly beheaded.
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni, although declining comments on the number of casualties, said normalcy had been restored and investigation ongoing.
*Gunmen kill 9, injure scores in Nasarawa
Gunmen, said to be Fulani herdsmen have reportedly stormed Ajikamaka, a Tiv settlement in Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, killing nine persons and injuring scores.
The whole village is in disarray as people fled for their lives, while the injured were evacuated for medical attention in nearby towns.
The killers were said to have invaded the community at about 2.00am shooting sporadically and chanting war songs, armed with sophisticated weapons,
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the Nasarawa Command, ASP Ramhan Nansel, said the command was yet to receive official report on the incident.
THE AUTHORITY reports that the deceased who were mostly women and children were identified as Tsekaa Chiatyo, Kwaghdoo Tsekaa, Sewuese Tsekaa, Bobo Chiatyo, Aondosee Fidelis, Aboy, Igba Aduku, Iwuesi and Aseer.
Confirming the attack to Newsmen in Lafia, the President, Tiv Development Association (TIDA) in Nasarawa state, Comrade Peter Ahemba, said it was an unprovoked attack
He called on the Tiv people to remain calm and avoid taking laws into their hands despite the attack.
*Nigeria at war, says Ahmad Gumi
Islamic cleric, Shiek Ahmad Gumi, has insisted that the federal government should adhere to his advice and grant amnesty to bandits for them to surrender their arms.
Gumi, who was reacting to the killing of three students of Greenfield University in Kaduna by bandits, said the killing of the students was an indication that bandits are at war with the nation.
Three students of Greenfield University were found dead on Saturday, three days after they were abducted with several others from their school.
Gumi, an indigene of Kaduna state said the attack in Kaduna were becoming more serious and needs the Kaduna State government to reconsider its stance against negotiation with bandits.
“I need government’s support before I can do anything, and I think there is huge misunderstanding and poor reading of the situation on ground. So, I’m really helpless. I don’t know what actually I can do as of now.”
Nonetheless, he said: “If the government will cooperate and listen to us, I think there will be peace. But we are finding it difficult to get the government’s attention.
“We are in a war situation. As we are talking now, they (military) are dropping bombs on them (bandits). You cannot protect your children and you are dropping bombs on the enemies!
*239 people killed, 44 kidnapped in the past one week – Report
Facts chronicled by the Premium Times newspaper have shown that at least 239 people were killed and 44 others kidnapped in separate violent incidents across the country, in the past one week, mostly by armed non-state actors.
The violence is not limited to any state, ethnic group or religion, the newspaper stated.
“It is a general problem that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is finding difficult to curb,” it stated.
The newspaper reminded that different state governors – Samuel Ortom (Benue) Babagana Zulum (Borno), and Hope Uzodinma (Imo) – have been victims of the violence, as they or their properties were attacked.
Similarly on Tuesday, the United States government issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens against travelling to Nigeria over the worsening security situation in the country.
The advisory also identified some high-risk zones in the country, where kidnapping for ransom, terrorism and other security threats are common.
*S/E leaders meet over worsening insecurity
As tension heightens over challenging insecurity in the South-East, state governors and opinion leaders in the zone went into a closed-door security meeting at the Government House, Enugu, Sunday.
The meeting which The AUTHORITY gathered was hurriedly convene by the chairman of the South-East Governor Forum, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, few hours after the gruesome killing of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Commander, Ikonso, along with six members of the group, and the burning of the Omuma country home of the Imo state Governor, Hope Uzodimma, and killing of about six people at the premises
The meeting had in attendance all the five South-East governors and some traditional rulers, including the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, leaders of religious groups, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Anglican Province, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, as well as the former governor of the old Anambra state, Sen. Jim Nwobodo and elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, among others.
This is the second security meeting convened at the instance of the Governors Forum in the last two weeks, which might not be unconnected to the worsening security situation in the zone.