A tragic incident unfolded in the Chito community, located in the troubled Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, where at least 15 individuals lost their lives.
Local sources revealed that a conflict between rival factional bandit groups erupted on a fateful Friday, resulting in the death of 15 gang members.
The dispute revolved around a struggle for supremacy between the two factions, known as Chain and Full Force, both heavily armed and determined to assert their dominance.
Reports suggest that the Full Force group enlisted the assistance of another bandit group to eliminate the leader of the Chain gang, triggering a violent confrontation.
The leader of the Chain gang was apparently alerted to the plot and set up an ambush, leading to the fatal encounter.
Local residents, who wished to remain anonymous, disclosed that the violence stemmed from a fight for control, creating an atmosphere of fear and prompting many villagers to flee for their safety.
The fear of potential reprisals from the warring factions added to the residents’ concerns, even though they had no direct involvement in the conflict.
The Ukum Local Government Area has been plagued by escalating banditry in recent times, with frequent reports of killings, abductions, and attacks on innocent civilians.
Two prominent individuals from the area, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture, and Tourism, Matthew Abo, and a former local government chairman, Washima Erukaa, were both kidnapped in separate incidents within a 24-hour span.
While Commissioner Matthew Abo was eventually released after 11 days in captivity, former chairman Washima Erukaa tragically lost his life at the hands of his abductors.