From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
At least 16 persons were yesterday killed and two others seriously injured as suspected herdsmen attacked Ebete, Usha community in Agatu Local Government area of Benue State.
A Supervisory Councillor in the area, John Ikulono who disclosed this to our correspondent , said the incident took place at about 1am while the people were asleep.
According to him, one Daddy Seni whose father was also killed alongside his siblings, narrated to them how his father was murdered by the suspected herdsmen.
“I left my father at Ebete while heading to Aloko for fishing when I received a distress call from him asking me to come back, that he has been shot by Fulani herdsmen,” he quoted Seni as saying.
He added that on reaching where his father was lying down in the pool of his blood, he attempted taking to the hospital when he heard a voice from him saying, “my son, don’t bother about me and your siblings again, ours have finished, we can’t survive this gunshots, run for your dear life and tell others about this”, and then he gave up.”
The deceased son who narrated the incident to Agatu Council Chairman Hon Alhaji Oyigocho who had rushed to Ebete with some Council members alongside security men, said he heard the killers speaking Fulani language while trying to run from the scene as he hid himself in the bush.
Ikulono said among the sixteen persons killed by the herdsmen, are three Jukun hunters who were hunting animals before they met their untimely death while two hunters who sustained bullet wounds were rushed to a nearby hospital.
Reacting to the unfortunate incident, the Acting Chairman Agatu Local Government Council, Hon Alhaji Oyigocho appealed to the government to quickly come to their aid averring, that this is happening at a time Nigerians are preparing to elect their new leaders in this Saturday elections.
“ If the situation continues, it will disorganize the election,” he added.
He said his people have never taken laws into their hands despite provocations from herdsmen whom he said had taken over farm lands in most parts of Agatu.
Hon. Oyigocho appealed to the people of Agatu to remain calm to allow the law enforcement agencies carry out their duties effectively.
Reacting to the incident, Force Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini said he received a report yesterday afternoon that some people were killed in Agatu by suspected armed bandits.
“I am not sure of the number of casualties yet. But I don’t think it is up to 16. We have sent a patrol team to the general area where the incident happened. The location where it happened, although it is in Benue State but can better be accessed through Loko in Nasarawa State. We are already sending a patrol team there to verify what really happened”, Gen. Yekini said.