The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Benue state, John Ngbede has confirmed the attack and killing of about 40 residents in Odugbeho community of Agatu local government area of the state by armed herdsmen that fateful Sunday evening.
Ngbede who is community and political leader in Agatu local government said the herders attacked the community on Sunday evening at about 6 : pm when the people were about closing from local market.
“The casualty as I was told by a community leader will be more than 40, but as of today (Monday) morning, the community had buried 25 corpses and are still searching in the bush for more since many are still missing”.
The PDP said, he has spoke with the chairman of Agatu Local Government who told him that he is with security men in the bush to recover some dead bodies of those trying to escape during the attack.
An eye witness and an indigene of the community, Mr. Isaac Oche who collaborated Ngbede’s version, stated that the armed herdsmen ambushed residents who were returning from the market at about 6: pm and started shooting and killing anyone in sight.
“After the assailants left the community around 7: pm, some of them that were lucky to have escaped the bullets of the marauders returned and met only ruins”
“When the Herdsmen came some of us ran to the bush and later when we returned to the village shortly after the attack, we recovered 21 bodies from the village centre.
According to Mr. Oche, they could not stay any longer to recover all the dead bodies in the night because it was dark and there was no security; alleging that the said herdsmen usually crossed from Akpanaja in Nasarawa State through Gwer West in a guerrilla style to cause mayhem and rush back to Nasarawa state.
According to him, the high number of casualties is due to the fact that it was on Sunday and most people were at home.
Recall that, suspected Fulani herdsmen from Nasarawa have for the past six weeks invaded the riverine areas of Guma, Makurdi and Agatu local government areas of Benue state and killed scores while thousands of herdsmen are currently occupying the deserted villages.
At the time of filing this report, Odugbeho which was attacked Sunday by the herdsmen was the ghost of itself as residents deserted the area for fear of more attacks.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene confirmed the incident but said they were yet to know the exact number of casualties.
According to her, the Commissioner of police, CP Madaki has deployed more officers to manage the incident and forestall further breakdown of law and order; police officers are still engaged in stabilizing the area.