The police in Benue State say they have uncovered hidden graves in
Gbatse village with 11 bodies of people suspected to have been killed
by kidnappers in Ushongo Local Government Area of the state just as a
local government official released the names of the victims.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Catherine Anene, told
journalists in Makurdi.
Anene said one suspect was arrested, adding that “as soon as we
conclude interrogating him, we will give out the full information".
It was gathered that the suspect, a gang leader of kidnap and armed
robbery syndicate, was arrested following a tip-off by members of the
community. The suspect and his gang were alleged to have killed their
victims and buried them after collecting their motorcycles in order to
conceal their crime and to avoid arrest.
A resident of Ushongo town, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
said of the recovered bodies, six have been identified by relatives of
the victims while five were yet to be identified. There are strong
indications that many bodies are still lying in the shallow graves.
The Guardian reports that many of the victims were young persons in
their 20s. The ringleader of the syndicate group, identified as
Iorwuese Kpila, alias Dr. Kwagh Akoronmenenge, was arrested with six
other members of his syndicate.
According to police authorities, the hideout of Kpila is located at a
hilltop surrounded by some thatch houses and a shrine. It was gathered
that a few days ago, the district head of Mbagwaza, Chief Julius
Kpenkpen called his Mbayegh counterpart, Chief Nathaniel Hoyo and
informed him that two Okada riders in his jurisdiction were missing.
The district head of Mbayegh summoned a meeting of leaders of the two
communities and demanded that the family of the kidnap kingpin (Kpila)
should produce him. Eventually, the suspect showed up on Monday in the
home of Chief Hoyo who handed him and four other accomplices over to
the police for investigation as they confessed to the killing and
burial of numerous victims.
Speaking with journalists in Ushongo at the site of the incident,
Governor Samuel Ortom said, “We will get to the root of kidnapping in
the state. They will be fished out to face the law. All kidnappers in
flash point local councils, including Vandeikya, Logo, Ukum, Kwande,
and Katsina-Ala will be apprehended. My government will not surrender
the state to criminals."
The council chairman, Bemsen Agugu, gave the names of the victims to
include Aondowase Akaahar; Terlumun Tema-Shangev-Ya, Kwande LG,
Ushahemba Ulughf from Mbakyaa, Shangev-ya, Kwande LG; Avakaa Adema
from Tse Akanyi-Mbarumun, Nanev Kwande LG; Tughgba Akosu from
Mbakua-Abenga, Nanev, Kwande LG; Ushahemba Adasu from Mbagbera,
Vandeikya LG; and Aondohemba Kunav beside General Hospital, Vandeikya.
Others are Terkaa Wanshila from Mbarumun-Nanev, kwande LG; Iorhemba
Temase Asongo from Tse Jev-Mbangor, Shangev-Ya, Kwande LG; Terfa Ati
from Mbagwaza, Ushongo LG; and TYokuia Ankyo from Mbagwaza, Ushongo
Those arrested, according to the chairman are Mr. Iorwuese kpila aka
Dr. kwagh akorom menenge; Tersoo Agee Agabi Charles, Mr. Ortema aka
ten tyres and Mr. Chiahemba Baa.