Home » Monarch, 2 others killed, 5 injured in fresh communal clash in Benue

Monarch, 2 others killed, 5 injured in fresh communal clash in Benue


…as local militia set ablaze 17 houses, 10 motorcycles

A traditional ruler, identified as Chief Sunday Okpe and two other persons were yesterday killed in a communal dispute between Amla Community in Otukpo and Okete Community in Ohimini Local Government Areas of Benue State.

Five others were said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries in the fracas.

The deceased traditional ruler, who is the clan head of Okete, was allegedly killed by Amla militias who also set ablaze 17 houses and ten motorcycles between Friday and Saturday.

Findings by New Telegraph has it that the dispute which dates back to over three years, assumed a disturbing dimension last weekend and left three persons dead from both warring sides with property worth millions of naira destroyed.

The Caretaker Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area, Mr. Alfred Omakwu, confirmed the incident.

“They, (Okete people) used to farm in Amla land and sometimes last year, 2023, when we wanted to do layout to develop the place, the Okete people went to report to the Och’Idoma that their farm products was there and so the Och’Idoma told them no layout would be done until they harvest their products.

“In February this year, they went and harvested their products and the Och’Idoma told them that in March, the Otukpo people can go ahead with their layout. That none of them should farm there again.

“So when the bulldozers were brought back to the place, they again said that they have already farmed on the land and that it is affecting their farm products.”

Mr. Omakwu said the Okete people reported to their Second Class Chief who also confirmed from the Och’Idoma that their people have been told not to farm there again.

“So when they were doing the layout on Friday, they went to their lawyer and when he called me, I told him the people were asked not to farm there again but if they want to go to court, it’s their right.

“They said they would stop the bulldozers from working and the lawyer told them he would have to get an injunction from the court and they said they can’t wait.

“Then they went to the First Class Chief of Otukpo/Ohimini, who called the Och’Idoma and he still said they should not stop the people doing the layout that he asked them not to farm there again.

“Then they went there and opened fire on the people. They killed one, shot two people and burnt all their motorbikes, about 10 of them.

“So the Otukpo people retaliated the next day, burnt some houses, killed two persons,” Omakwu said.

But the Caretaker Chairman of Ohimini Local Government Area, Mr. Samson Okoh, accused his Otukpo counterpart, of taken bulldozers to destroy farm crops of his people.

According to him, “the Otukpo Chairman took bulldozers to the place where the Okete people happened to be farming for years to open a layout and then bulldozed all the farm crops belonging to his people.

“When the Okete people approached them and asked why they are doing that, the Amla people said the land does not belong to the Okete people, but to them Amla people.

“So when the argument ensued according to what I was told, somehow one of them from Otukpo pulled the trigger, but mistakenly the bullet entered the Otukpo person rather.

“On Saturday night the Amla people reinforced and barricaded the Okete people burnt houses, beat up one boy and in the day time around 10 to 11am when I went to take the boy they killed to the mortuary, the Alma people went to the place and burnt 17 houses, burnt motorcycles, slaughtered a chief, a clan head Sunday Okpe, and injured five persons. We have taken them to the teaching hospital in Otukpo for treatment.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident.

Anene said, “I don’t have details but the incident was confirmed to me and one person died at the time I called.”

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