By Amos Aar
THE BENUE State Government has warned the people of Mbaivur and Mbasombo in Gwer East LGA of the state to stop taking up arms against each other as it is being rumoured that counter attacks are being planned.
The two communities have been involved in communal clashes since 2020 and efforts are on to resolve the conflict
Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia on Security and Strategic Liaison, Colonel Alexander Igbaya Shungu (Rtd), told newsmen after a closed door meeting with stakeholders from Mbaivur and Mbasombo in his office on Friday that the government has received intelligence report that one of the communities was planning to launch attack on the other on Saturday (today) at the burial of a man who was allegedly killed during the crisis about five months ago.
“We have received an intelligence report that there is likely to be some kind of outbreak of violence. That Mbasombo wants to bury one of their persons who lost his life and they are assuming that somebody killed him and they are thinking that they will use some other means to bury the person like the traditional means they used to do in those days.
“But we have discovered that these are not actually cogent reasons and we are appealing to them to calm down and follow the law. Enough of blood has been shed in this state and anybody who destroys life will face the music. We pray that there should be peace in the area, they should sheath their swords”, Col. Igbaya (Rtd) said.
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Also speaking during the joint briefing, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security and Internal Affairs, Chief Joseph Har, said their decision to call stakeholders of the two communities together to make peace was not a show of weakness and warned against revenge at the burial.
“Let them go back and warn their wards. That intention should be aborted. There should be no attack tomorrow,” Chief Har cautioned.
Ter Gwer, HRH Chief Dominic Akpe, who commended Governor Alia for appointing two Security Advisers called on his subjects to rescind their plan to cause violence if they had actually intended to do such a thing because Government would not take it kindly with them.
“I want to say that the district head of Mbasombo that is here with us, when he goes home, he should hold a meeting with his people. We will also reach out to his counterpart from Ishough (Mbaivur) so that they will also hold a meeting so that what the advisers are trying to prevent should not go on,” Akpe said.
On his part, Barr Sunday Udanyi, the DGSA and Acting Chairman of Gwer East LGA, thanked God that Governor Alia has proven that peace is his priority, saying it’s the first of its kind for a governor of the state to have appointed two advisers on security and it has demonstrated his commitment to peace.
He assured that as Chief Security Officer of the local government, he will carry out the government’s message to the letter.
The meeting was graced only by Mbasombo stakeholders as those from Mbaivur did not turn up.
There has been a truce in the Mbaivur/Mbasombo crisis for about three months now.