According to Punch, the youths accused the elders of causing the accident spiritually through 'juju'. The bodies of the of those who drowned have been recovered.
The incident occurred at Kambe when the passengers, 13 in all, were returning to Agasha which is also in Guma from a burial ceremony.
The sole administrator of Guma Local Government, Mr. Anthony Shawon, said the accident occurred because the boat was overloaded, there was a windstorm, and the passengers were drunk.
Shawon said, “The report I got is that the people were mourners who were heavily drunk, they refused to heed to advise of the boat paddlers who had insisted they would ferry them in two batches.”
“I also learnt that at the time they were crossing the river, there was heavy wind, all these might have been responsible for the mishap, we have been able to recover five bodies.”
In the aftermath of the incident, irate youths staged a protest on Friday morning, accusing elders in the area of spiritually causing the boat accident.
At the end of the protest, which turned violent, three elders were killed.
The council boss while speaking on the protest said: “The civil defence (NSCDC) alerted me this morning that some youths were protesting. On (my) arrival in Gbajimba, I saw there was a protest as the youths made bonfire alleging that the incident has a spiritual connotation.”
“Unfortunately, three elders were killed in the protest and the official vehicle of district head in the area was snatched.”
“I tried to calm them down. But they went wild pursuing every elder in the area. I then saw another group of Indian hemp smokers with machete parading the area, I reported the incident to the soldiers and mobile police who swiftly intervened and restored security to the area.
“It is a pathetic situation in the area. However, the youths are suspicious about the whole thing alleging that some elders are behind it but I don’t believed them because it is a case of overloading, over drunk and over speeding.”
The Public Relations Officer for the Benue State Police Command, ASP Moses Yamu, confirmed the incident, saying there was a mob action in Gbajmgba town but order had be restored.