A deadly clash between rival criminal gangs and an attack on a bar have claimed the lives of 22 people in two communities in the Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
Sources from the area said that the violence started in Chito Community, where two notorious armed groups, called ‘Chain Gang’ and ‘Full Fire’, fought for supremacy over the weekend. The sources said that about 15 people were killed and many others were injured in the gun battle between the gangs.
According to one of the sources, the Chain Gang had learned of a plot by the Full Fire to hire another banditry group to eliminate them. The Chain Gang then ambushed their enemies and shot them dead.
The sources said that the locals fled the area for fear of being caught in the crossfire or being targeted by the gangs. They said that the gangs had their base in the local government and were constantly at war with each other.
The sources also said that another incident happened on Saturday evening in Tyo Akosu village, where some gunmen stormed a drinking spot and opened fire on the customers. They said that seven people were killed and several others were wounded in the attack.
They said that they were not sure if the attack was related to the Chito clash, but they suspected that the gang war was spreading in the communities. They said that they could not identify the members of the gangs among the local youths.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, said she had not received any information on the incidents.