By Amos Aar
DESPITE a 5-day ultimatum by the Benue State Government issued to Mbaivur community in Gwer East local government area that has been at war with Mbasombo community in the same local government, to produce Mr Aondofa Awua alleged to have been kidnapped by Mbaivur militia from his farm on June 26, 2023 after his nursing wife was gang-raped on the farm Mbaivur militia, the order is yet to be obeyed.
Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Aõndona Dajoh, had on June 29 at a peace meeting between Mbaivur and Mbasombo stakeholders at Government House, Makurdi, ordered Mbaivur to produce Mr Awua whether dead or alive within five days from June 29 and stop attacks on Mbasombo Community. The speaker said failure to comply with the directives, government will take over Mbaivur land and sack all their prominent sons and daughters from state government jobs.
But dependable sources from Ikpayongo, a major town in the area which has suffered several attacks as a result of the communal conflict, confided in National Record Sunday evening that rather than obey the state government’s instruction, Mbaivur militia have instead laid siege on the farms of Mbasombo people with sophisticated weapons on a daily basis.
The development, the source said has made it difficult for Mbasombo men and women to even go to their farms to get food.
He said the security operatives deployed by the government to the crisis-stricken area for peacekeeping have concentrated at Ikpayongo Town while the main war is going on in the bush and on the farms.
“What the government should have done is to station the security personnel on the side of Mbaivur where they converge every morning before they divide themselves into different groups and move to Mbasombo farms in different directions with weapons to lay siege for anyone who will come to farm. When Mbasombo people sight them, they run back to Ikpayongo Town.
“It’s very easy for security operatives to arrest the militia in the morning if they go to the bush”, the source said.
He further alleged that Mbaivur militia have notified Mbasombo as usual that they will be coming for another fierce attack on Ikpayongo at night and they will not use guns this time around but only knives and machetes to slay residents in their houses in order to save their bullets and to avoid alerting others yet to be slain in the course of the attack.
According to him, Ikpayongo residents are now having sleepless nights because Mbaivur people always carry out their threats. “They always call and inform Mbasombo before they strike. So, they are notifying them again and it’s worrisome,” he hinted.
The Mbaivur-Mbasombo crisis, which has escalated to Ikpayongo market, has thrown residents of the town into great fear.
Although Ikpayongo is located on the land of Mbasombo, the town is hosting visitors from different tribes including Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Idoma and other languages. Some of them have acquired plots of land and built their houses while others have rented rooms and shops to stay and do businesses. But the crisis is sparing no one because the aim is for Ikpayongo not to exist again according inside sources.