Suspected militia kills 12 in Benue community
But confirming the crisis, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state command, Catherine Anene, put the casualty figure at 10.
The spokesperson, who said the cause of the crisis was yet unknown, noted that investigation into the matter was ongoing.
The Guardian gathered from sources in the area that the killers also set homes ablaze while the villagers were still in churches.
Former supervisory councillor for Agatu, John Ikwulono, who spoke to The Guardian on phone, described the attack as barbaric, unwarranted and inhuman.
According to Ikwulono, the attack was coming amid series of meetings called to make peace between the two communities over their time-honoured dispute.
“Just yesterday, (Saturday), Agbaduma and Abugbe communities, it was gathered, signed peace agreement and promised to remain peaceful and ensure that there would be no further problem among them,” he told The Guardian yesterday.
Mr. Ikwulono gave names of those killed in the attack as Mr. Baba Odoje, Mr. Shaidu Magaji (a retired military man), Mr. Oloche Obiabo (popularly called ‘Kaddo’), Mr. Adehi Imaikwu and Mr. Maji Baba.
Others are Ngbede Ibrahim (Ejeh-Akpabana son), Bello Gene-Galih, Mr. Ekoja (Olundo’s husband), Adams Dogara (Pst. Dogara’s son), the late Francis Idu’s wife and her two children.
He said there might be more deaths, as some persons were still missing, adding that some persons, including Mrs. Mary Adakonye, a health worker, sustained bullet wounds and had been rushed to a hospital for medical attention.
When contacted, the caretaker chairman of Agatu, Usman Alilu, said he directed the soldiers to the area to arrest and deal decisively with the perpetrators of the evil.
Also, Benue PDP chairman, John Ngbede, an indigene of Agatu, expressed bitterness over the crisis, which he described as unfortunate.
Ngbede, in a telephone interview, said he had informed the caretaker chairman to make sure that soldiers picked everyone involved in the attack.
“Even if it is a stone you find there, pick them up and deal with them mercilessly.
“This situation, if not properly handled, is capable of destroying the entire Agatu. There may be no place to call Agatu in the nearest future. God forbid anyway. This is my candid advice to our leaders. I appreciate all those with genuine intentions to bring peace to the area, but those instigating crisis in the area shall know no peace for the rest of their lives,” Ngbede added.
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