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BY PETER DURU, Makurdi
Seven persons have been reportedly killed while over six thousand others have also been displaced in Ikpele and Okpopolo communities following the invasion of parts of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state by suspected Fulani mercenaries.
Saturday Vanguard gathered from sources that “the marauders who invaded the communities two days ago from Omola Local Government Area of Kogi state also burnt down several houses, huts and economic trees after killing seven persons in the affected communities.”
Confirming the development, renown leader of Agatu and Benue state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. John Ngbede said, that his people in Ikpele and Okpopolo were attacked again on Tuesday, morning by the Fulanis when most of the people had gone to their farms.
”They stormed the communities in a guerrilla fashion, burnt down houses and economic trees and while on their way out they killed two persons and injured two others who are currently in critical condition in a public hospital.
”As I talk to you, there are rumours that the mercenaries are marching towards Iwarri village for further attacks. Our findings revealed that they stormed our communities from Loco in Nasarawa state from where they boarded speed boats to Omola Local Government Area of Kogi state, and from that point they launched attacks on our communities.
”It is saddening that these incessant attacks have forced over 6,000 inhabitants of the affected communities and Agatu west to flee their homes for fear of being killed; most of them are now taking refuge at neighboring Apa Local Government Area and at Obagaji.
”We are tired of these unending bloodbath, the Fulanis should come out and tell us their problem with Agatu people, and if they have a different agenda they should also let us know.
”Moreover we would also want the Federal government to step into the matter by beefing up security and extending assistance to the victims of these attacks in the affected communities.”
Meantime, Mr. Ngbede has also pleaded with the Omola local government council chairman in Kogi state to beef up security around he communities bordering Agatu Local Government Area in order to stem the unrestrained incursion of the marauders.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, for Benue state, Deputy Superintendent, Daniel Ezeala said “the suspected Fulanis invaded the communities on Tuesday, burning down houses and also killed one person while two others were seriously injured but security has been beefed up in the affected communities.