At least 24 people have been killed by yet-to-be identified gunmen in Zaki Akpuuna 1 community of Mbaterem district in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
Locals told our correspondent on telephone that the gunmen were suspected bandits who have been terrorising the vicinity for a long time.
Witnesses also said that the attackers invaded two villages and that while killing people who were mostly young men, they set the villages ablaze.
A resident who declined his name on print said the attackers stormed the area on Saturday morning and started shooting sporadically, causing pandemonium.
He said that as the dust settled down, mangled bodies of those who fell to the attackers’ bullets were recovered.
“At least, 24 bodies have been recovered and the search is still on to find missing people,” the villager said.
Another indigene of the area said the bandits while fleeing the scene encountered the military and that there was an exchange of gunfire.
“The exact number of casualties will be more because the military and bandits are currently exchanging gun fire,” the witness added.
Spokesman for Operation Whirl Strike (OPWS), Flight Lieutenant Oquoh, had yet to respond to calls and messages put through his telephone for confirmation.
But, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Benue Command, SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the recovery of eight corpses.