Makurdi — At least 11 persons reportedly lost their lives yesterday when a boat they were traveling in capsized at Kaambe crossing point at Gbajimba in Guma local government area of Benue State.
Guma is the home town of Governor Samuel Ortom.
The Sole Administrator of the council, Mr. Anthony Shawon who made this known in Makurdi, said the boat which was conveying the victims who were mourners was overloaded when the incident happened.
He attributed the cause of the mishap to heavy wind, adding that most of the victims who were heavily drunk at the time of the accident refused to heed advise of the boat paddlers that the passengers be ferried in batches.
According to the Sole Administrator, the unfortunate incident sparked angry reaction from youths of the area who went on rampage making bonfire and further resorted to attacks on some persons.
"They protested that the incident had a superstitious connotation. They ended up stoning three elders to death in addition to the eight that drowned and went further to burn down their houses.
"The irate youths also attacked the district head of Gbajimba, Gwatse Akaahena who had the windscreen of his car smashed.
"I tried to calm them down, but they went wild going after every elder in the area. I, then saw another group of Indian hemp smokers with matchete parading the area.
"I reported the incident to soldiers and mobile police officers who swiftly intervened and restored security to the area though no arrests have been made so far." Shawon said. When contacted, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer ASP Moses Yamu confirmed the incident, noting that there was mob action in Gbajimba but added that normalcy had since been restored in the area while investigation into the matter had commenced.