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30 houses razed in Benue communal clash

NO fewer than 30 houses have been burnt down in a Tiv suburb of Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

It was gathered that the two groups have been fighting since 2015 over Tyo-Mu, a rich stretch of land where they have inhabited for decades.

The land on the bank of River Benue is said to be suitable for fadama farming, yielding bountiful harvests of yam, cassava and rice in the wet season.

It is also said that the inhabitants excavate soil used to make burnt bricks there.

But since 2015, The Nation learnt, one group called Ihyarev or indigenous people has been uncomfortable with another group called Kparev or settlers, who have been moulding bricks at the bank of the river for over 100 years.

An eyewitness, Terna Aker, told The Nation that on Wednesday the Ihyarev attacked the Kparev, demanding that they leave Tyo-Mu.

“Before we could pack our buckets and clothes and leave, they pounced on us (Kparev) and cut some of our people with machetes,” said Terna.

Terna said he narrowly escaped death, but his house was set ablaze as the attackers moved the fight from the riverbank to the main land where they burnt Kparev houses.

Smoke could be seen billowing from burning houses in Tyo-Mu located along Makurdi-Gboko Expressway.  Residents were seen leaving the settlement with their household items, including mattress and kitchenware.

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Women were seen carrying their children on their backs as they fled.

Since the 2015 general elections when the crisis escalated, there has been no peace in the Tiv community of Tyo-Mu as hardly a week passed by without one or two persons being killed.

Police spokesperson Kate Sewuese Anene confirmed the crisis, saying a police team has arrived at the embattled community.

A community leader Chief Dogo Ugo expressed shock that two Tivs groups could be at each other’s throats.

He called on security agencies to ensure peace in the community.

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