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Open Grazing: How Armed Herdsmen Attacked Livestock Guards In Benue

Livestock Guards

During the weekend, members of the Benue Livestock Guards narrowly avoided death when they were attacked by armed herdsmen in Kwua community, behind Makurdi Modern Market.

The attack occurred after the livestock guards impounded several cattle that had grazed on local farms and destroyed crops.

The crisis began around 5 pm on Friday when herdsmen led their cattle into the community to graze. The guards, acting on a tip-off, confronted the herdsmen and impounded the cattle.

According to an eyewitness: “But the herders went and mobilised their brothers and friends, armed with guns and knives, they came back for the BSLG personnel who were moving the impounded cattle to a designated government confinement centre pending the arrival of their owners.

“They intercepted and confronted the guards close to the Makurdi Modern Market gate, shooting sporadically and cutting people with knives to forcefully recover the impounded cattle. In the process, several people, including livestock guards, sustained serious injuries.

“The crisis created pandemonium in the area as people scampered to safety while commercial and business activities were disrupted.”

The eyewitness also stated that the police were deployed to the scene but were also resisted by the armed herdsmen and their accomplices, who successfully took back the impounded cattle.

Chief Joseph Har, the Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Internal Security, confirmed the incident.

Har reported that a raid was subsequently conducted on Saturday morning, resulting in the arrest of several suspects.

According to him: “The Benue State Internal Security, in collaboration with the police, raided the Wadata abattoir and Awe Street in Makurdi on June 15, 2024.

“This followed the previous day’s assault and obstruction by hoodlums from Wadata after the Livestock Guards apprehended cattle grazing on farms along the riverbank but were attacked by about 60 armed youths at the Modern Market gate.”

Har stated that the Anti-Open Grazing and Ranch Establishment Law is not aimed at the Fulani people but must be obeyed by all cattle breeders in the state.

He expressed concern over the armed resistance by youths against state officials.