According to a Daily Post report, palpable tension has gripped residents of Owukpa Community in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State as gunmen suspected to be kidnappers are currently on a rampage, abducting residents.
It was gathered that some yet-to-be identified assailants suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, on Wednesday, abducted a Catechist attached to the St Mary Immaculate Church Aho, Mr Patrick Jerome with immediate call for ransom.
It was learned that with the efforts of the family members and the church, the Catechist was freed after a ransom was paid on Friday.
Subsequently, gunmen numbering about ten invaded the Aho market with heavy ammunition shooting sporadically to scare residents and whisked away wife of a popular business man, Aaron Gabriel also called Randy, to an unknown destination.
Confirming the incident to DAILY POST on Sunday, Mr Aaron said his wife was abducted while attending to customers in his shop at the market.
He revealed that the assailants carted away several items and cash from the shop.
“They invaded Aho market on Saturday with heavy firearms shooting sporadically before gaining entrance into my shop. They carted away most of my expensive goods. I can’t count how many phones they took and they also went away with all the money I left in the shop. They targeted my wife,” he said.
When asked if the kidnappers have made any contact, he said, “yes, I called my wife’s line and I spoke with them. They asked me to bring hundred million Naira and I’m just wondering where I can get such money. I’m confused”.
Leader of the community, Chief Akogwu Agada who also confirmed the two incidents to DAILY POST, said the entire village had been enveloped with tension, stressing that stepping out of their home is currently a challenge as no one knows who is next.
He said during the latest attack, the gunmen injured another resident who is currently in a critical condition, stating that he may not survive the injury.
According to the Chief, stakeholders of the village are currently meeting with local securities to ensure the release of the victim and to forestall further attacks.
“No one knows where these armed men are coming from. We don’t know their hideout but we are suspecting Fulani herdsmen who have been hitherto attacking the community due to clashes with farmers”, Chief Akogwu added.
He called on the security agencies in the state to as a matter of urgency, intervene in the security situation of the area.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anene Sewuese was unable to take her calls and could not respond to text messages forwarded to her as at press time.
However, when contacted by DAILY POST on Sunday, Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, expressed shock over the incident.
He promised to inform the governor and revert.