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Hoodlums Raid Benue IDPs’ Camp, Beat Up Policemen & Flood Victims…

Hoodlums attacked the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge at the Abagana-Agan Camp on Makurdi-Lafia Road, Benue State and stole 200 bags of rice and other relief materials.

The hoodlums, who disguised as IDPs, forcibly gained access into the camp and overpowered policemen deployed to protect the victims.

They headed straight to the warehouse where relief materials were kept and broke door with stones and sticks.
The gangsters, who were between ages of 14 and 35, claimed to be inhabitants of the host community where the camp is situated and that they were denied being part of the items meant for victims of the recent flood disaster.

A chivalrous police sergeant, name withheld, who despite the wicked activities of the youth, moved in to intercede, had his uniform torn. The youth also attempted to snatch his rifle.

Our correspondent, who visited the camp alongside officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), observed that most of the doors to the stores housing relief materials had been damaged.

Some ad-hoc staff recruited by SEMA to help in the distribution of relief materials said that every day, the youth mobilise and attack them while closing from work and they snatch a handbag belonging to one of them with money, make-ups and a mobile handset.

One of the workers said: “When the hoodlums attacked, because of limited security men on ground, they overwhelmed them. We, the staff, had no option than to lock ourselves inside the stores. But they still broke in, tortured us and stole 200 bags of rice.

“They also accosted the aged IDPs and snatched items that were shared to them in the morning. If you enter the stores, you will see that as they were scrambling over bags of rice, some got torn and littered the floor.”
It took the Executive Secretary of SEMA, Mr. Boniface Ortese, to calm frayed nerves.

Ortese, who condemned the attack, said the main camp at the Makurdi Ultra-Modern International Market was also invaded and had become a beehive of political activities. He added that aged men and women were not spared by the invaders who snatched their belongings.

Ortese, who declared the two camps closed as a result of such acts, explained that the committee on the flood disaster chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, would embark on thorough assessment of individual homes to verify their claims of damage and give them more relief materials.

He added: “As I speak with you, we have about 500 children in the camp who go to school, but their parents are not ready to go back because of relief materials.

“We are worried that the camps have been filled up with people not directly affected. We believe some politicians are pushing these hoodlums to carry out these acts because 80 per cent of the IDPs at the Agan camp are not real victims.”

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