No fewer than 10 persons were allegedly killed Wednesday by Fulani herdsmen in Mbakyondo, Mbakpa and Sengaev communities in the Agagbe district of Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State.
Sources from the area told newsmen that the invading herdsmen stormed the communities at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday and started shooting sporadically in all directions.
Many villagers are said to have been killed in their sleep, with several others injured in the attack, as several houses were razed by the invading herdsmen.
Newsmen gathered that the invasion may not be unconnected with the alleged clash between some youths in Mbakpa community and some Fulani herdsmen in the area early in the week.
Our correspondent gathered that during the clash between the youths and the herdsmen, one Fulani herder was missing, the development leading to a mass exodus of locals from the community for fear of reprisals.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, Commissioner of Police in the state, Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the clash between the youths and the herdsmen in Mbakpa Community, said the State Police Command was already in talks with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the body of herders on the matter.
“Gwer West Local Government in Mbakpa community woke up to a report that the youths in that community led an attack on some herdsmen in that area. There is now an exodus of members of that community into Naka town for fear of a reprisal attack,” Owoseni stated.
“We are still talking with leaders of herdsmen in that area to ascertain the level of casualty. We heard that one of the herdsmen is missing and we immediately got in touch with leadership of MACBAN and the body of herders in order to douse and prevent an escalation of anything that could come as reprisal.”
The Police Commissioner, warning that his Command would not tolerate any form of reprisal, urged the general public to report any form of security threat in their areas to security agencies rather than taking laws into their hands.
However, efforts by our correspondent to get the Commissioner to confirm the Wednesday attacks failed, as text message sent to his phone was yet to be responded to at the time of filing this report.