by Fr Remigius Ihyula (Coordinator FJDP)


Incident Report: Tragic Event in Nyiev, Hirnyam Community
Date: 10th – 13th August 2023
Location: Nyibiam close to Ngban, Guma LGA, ( 3 persons killed) Benue State




Since 2009, attacks by Islamic jihadists masquerading as herdsmen on Christian farming communities in the Benue Valley have occurred almost on a daily basis. And since this time too, the attacks follow a pattern of displacement and occupy. Thousands have been killed while many more have been forced to flee their lands. In some instances, some families have even suffered multiple displacements. The Makurdi Diocese Foundation for Justice, Development, and Peace has reported on this incident, calling attention to the genocidal attacks and calling for help from all quarters to stem the killings. In this report, I bring to you once again, the continuous killings taking place in spite of a new government in Nigeria and in Benue State. This report is a heart-wrenching account of the events that unfolded on the 10th to 13th of August 2023 at Nyibiam close to Ngban (Ngban is the village where on Easter eve this year the terrorists herdsmen attacked an IDP camp killing over 40 persons taking refuge in this camp) in Nyiev council ward of Guma Local Government Area, Benue State. The events resulted in the tragic deaths of: Mr. Simon Ukerchia, Mr. Terhemen Ajiva, Mr. Jude Adue, A Lady ( name not known) Mr. Hyacinth Kwahembega (killed in the morning of 11/8/23) Mr. Damian Hagher (killed in the evening hours of 13/8/23) The painful killings transpired against a backdrop of a suffocating siege of many villages in Guma LGA by Fulani herdsmen terrorists. Before this latest round of killings the herdsmen occupying the farmlands of the villagers had been terrorizing the people with occasional raids, dispossessing the locals of any valuable possessions, kidnappings, rapes, etc. The boldness of the Fulani herdsmen has become alarming as reported by the locals. The communities mostly affected are Udei, Mgban, Ukohol, and Ortese.


1) On Tuesday 8th August Fulani herdsmen attacked Mgban and used machetes to injure a member of the community. Thanks be to God this person survived the attack but the herdsmen made away with his motorbike as well as a handset and 5000 naira (belonging to a lady this man was conveying on his bike.)

2) Wednesday 9th August Fulani herdsmen again stormed the Mgban community shooting sporadically for hours, chasing members of the community from their farms.

3) Thursday 10th August the Fulani herdsmen stormed the Mgban community a third time in a matter of days and killed the three persons named above in their farms in broad daylight.

4) The event of Friday 11th August is even more painful. In the early hours of this day, members of the communities affected by these attacks gathered along the highway to protest the incessant killings by the herdsmen. The representatives from the government came and appealed to them to disperse so that motorists could ply the highway assuring the protesters that their security will be looked into and their safety attended to. However, while negotiations were ongoing, Fulani herdsmen with boldness and damning the assurances of the government and security agencies, stormed Ukohol village and killed one Mr. Hyicinth Kwahembega, a volunteer catechist of St Francis church Mom, one of the outstation churches of Sacred Heart parish Udei.


In an egregious display of violence, the assailants ravaged the only vital bridge in close proximity to a Dam used by the community rendering it unusable. Not content with this act, they proceeded to the vicinity of the Dam where the victims, Mr. Ukerchia, Mr. Ajiva, Mr. Adue, and the unidentified lady, were diligently tending to their farmland. In a horrifying act of aggression, these innocent individuals fell victim to the herders’ brutal assault, resulting in their untimely demise. The herders’ ruthlessness knew no bounds, as they went so far as to mutilate their victims’ bodies, leaving an indelible mark of tragedy upon the community.


Immediate Aftermath:

The abhorrent nature of the attack stirred deep-seated anger and outrage within the Nyiev, Hirnyam community in Guma LGA. The women in the nearby Internally Displaced Persons camp (IDPs) at Ortese seized the moment to voice their anger and displeasure at the government for its handling of security. Taking control of the highway, the women effectively barred access to and from the State, demanding the presence of the governor. Their poignant cry echoed the sentiment that the presence of military personnel offered no protection against such brazen acts of violence. They adamantly demanded that the military withdraw and invoked a call for more effective security measures to safeguard the lives and properties of the indigenous populace. While this is no doubt a harrowing incident, it is nothing new to us. Throughout 2022, the FJDP recorded and shared incidents of daily attacks and killings in communities in Benue State. What is however shocking is that the renewed attacks are happening with the new government of President Ahmed Tinubu and Hyacinth Alia. One would have thought that such impunity as perpetrated under the Buhari regime that allowed Fulani herdsmen terrorists to get away with genocide has become a thing of the past. but alas this is not to be.  The brutality of the attack serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the indigenous people of Benue State at the hands of Fulani herders. Such attacks continue to create a situation of displacement, with Shelter, food, health care, and psycho-social needs topping the list of the things most urgently needed to help the displaced. As the community grapples with the profound loss of these individuals, we fervently advocate for swift and resolute action. The wheels of justice must turn decisively to stop the jihadists from exterminating defenseless Christian populations not only in Benue but in other parts of Nigeria as well.







The pictures of the victims are shown below:

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