Protest erupts in Benue LG over killing of 11 people .

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By Ijeoma Obioma .

Protests erupted on Wednesday over the killings of 11 people by suspected local bandits in Ayati, a community in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

Ukum, part of the Sankera ancestral bloc, has long been troubled by armed bandits despite numerous security operations aimed at eradicating them.

Residents reported that the attack occurred early Wednesday, with bandits opening fire, resulting in 11 deaths and numerous injuries.

This latest violence triggered outraged youths in Borikyo to block the Sankera-Ayati-Sai road and besiege the Ukum local government secretariat, protesting the lack of government intervention.

Protesters damaged property at the council secretariat with stones and sticks. The protest by afternoon degenerated to the burning down of INEC office in the area while certain politicians houses were also razed with fire.

A local resident recounted, “The attack happened last night, with seven killed on the spot. More bodies were found later, raising the death toll to 11. Youths are now protesting, demanding action from Governor Hyacinth Alia.”

The Internal Security Adviser to the Benue State Governor, Chief Joseph Har, acknowledged the protesters’ threats to burn down the secretariat and emphasized that the government had dislodged the bandits, describing the attack as “the last kick of a dying horse.”

Police Public Relations Officer, SP. Catherine Anene, confirmed the protests but stated that details were still forthcoming.

Meanwhile Governor Hyacinth Alia has imposed curfew indefinitely on the local government beginning from 3pm Wednesday to Thursday 3pm to be followed by dusk to dawn subsequently.

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