Seven people killed by gunmen in Tor Donga, Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Benue State.
In the attack on Thursday evening, November 18, five other people were injured, including a Catholic priest named Rev. Fr. Ajoko Micheal of St. John’s Parish Kasar and an Igbo woman.
The seven people killed were four members of the newly formed Benue Community Volunteer Guards.
Tersoo Nyamkem, Ornyar Kwaghtagher, Ortwer Vendagough, and Iorzua Joseph Denen have been identified.
Oryina Orhirga, Saidu Ado (a vulcanizer), and a young man in the vehicle with Rev. Fr. Ajoko are among others.
The gunmen were local bandits who were remnants of the Azonto group, according to Alfred Atera, Chairman of Katsina-Ala Local Government, who confirmed the attack to newsmen on Friday.
“Bandits stormed Tor Donga last night (Thursday) and killed seven people. They killed two Volunteer Guards members and injured two more on their way, then killed a few more people as they shot sporadically “he said
“Five people have been injured, including a Reverend father from Mbatseer who was on his way to Tor Donga. They followed him (Catholic Priest), opened fire on him, and killed the other person in the car with him. Between 5 and 5:30 p.m., the accident happened.
“Because the volunteer guards said they saw one Sonter driving the car they came in with, they (the attackers) are the last remains of the Azonto army. When the volunteer guards saw them, they blocked the road, but because they had nothing to defend themselves with, they fled as the bandits approached.
On Friday, a military source who did not want to be named confirmed the attack to the Nigerian Tribune.
“Unknown gunmen in a moving car pushed their way through the vigilante checkpoint along Katsina-Ala/Tor Donga road on Thursday at about 4:40 pm at Tor Donga in Katsina-Ala local government area,” the source said.
The military source added that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) who were alerted about the ugly development raced to the area but that the bandits had escaped before they got there.
“They however recovered seven dead bodies and three wounded persons from the scene. Corpses of the dead victims were deposited at the mortuary while the injured are now responding to treatment at an undisclosed hospital,” the military source added.
Governor Samuel Ortom confirmed the attack while speaking with reporters on Friday. He condemned the attack and said his government was working with security agencies to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators.
“All of those criminal elements are being tracked by security agents. This one was carried out by local bandits in our state. But I can tell you that we will not back down. We will pursue them and, by God’s blessing, we will apprehend them.” he stated.
“The security agencies are tracking all those criminal elements. It was the local bandits within our state that did this one. But I can assure you that we are not going to relent. We are going to go after them and by the grace of God, we are going to apprehend them.” he said.