Herdsmen attack Agatu community in Benue, kill 16

Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked Agatu community in Benue State on Wednesday and killed 16 people while many others were injured.

Recall that suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked some communities in Agatu Local Government Area of the state in 2016 and hundreds of people were killed.

In the renewed attack in the early hours of Wednesday, 16 persons were murdered in their sleep by the suspected Fulani herders.

According to a community source, the herdsmen attacked Ebete community under Usha ward of the Agatu Local Government Area of the state in the night.

Also, a Supervisory Councillor of Finance and Administration in Agatu Local Government, John Ikulono, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the herdsmen stormed the community around 1am on Wednesday.

Ikulono said that an indigene of Ebete community, simply identified as Daddy Seni, reported the killings to the council.

Daddy Seni, the councillor said, lost his father and siblings in the attack.

He said, “Daddy Seni, whose father was also killed alongside his siblings, reported the incident. Daddy Seni left his father at Ebete to go to Aloko for fishing. It was while he was on the way that he received a call from his father that he had been shot by Fulani herdsmen. The father asked him to come back home.

“On reaching home, he saw his father lying in the pool of  his own blood gasping for breath. He rushed to take him to the hospital but he said the father told him not to worry as he had lost so much blood.

“Daddy Seni said, his father said, ‘my son, don’t bother about me and your siblings again, ours have finished, we can’t survive these gunshots, run for your dear life to tell others about this.”

The supervisory councillor said that the officials of the council and some security men thereafter followed Daddy Seni to the affected community.

Among the 16 persons that were murdered, he said, were three hunters.

The Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, who confirmed the incident through a statement, did not give the casualty figure.

He stated, “I received a report this afternoon that some people were killed in Agatu by suspected bandits. I’m not sure of the number of casualty now but I don’t think it’s up to 16.

“We have sent a patrol team to the general area where the incident happened. The location where it happened, although the crime scene is in Benue State, it can be better accessed through Loko in Nasarawa State.

“We are already sending a patrol team there to verify what really happened.”

Meanwhile, some houses were burnt and damaged following a communal clash between the people of Olanyega and Iwewe villages in Okpokwu Local Government Area of the state.

One of our correspondents gathered on Wednesday that troubled started when a signpost belonging to a Local Government Educational Area school in one of the communities was removed on Sunday.

The removal, it was gathered, led to a crisis between the warring neighbours.

It degenerated to a point where dangerous weapons were freely used by the members of the two villages while some houses on both sides were reportedly torched.

Sources, who pleaded anonymity, said the intervention of security agents prevented further destruction as they hurriedly restored peace to the affected communities.

The new Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, informed one of our correspondents that the communal clash was reported to the command, adding that it was under investigation.

She, however, declined to provide information on the number of houses burnt or destroyed and the casualty figure.

Anene said, “It is a communal clash between Olanyega village and Iwewe village, all of Edumoga in Okpokwu LGA. Case reported and still under investigation, please.”