Benue State Police Commissioner, Paul Yakadi, yesterday, said over 5,000 cows accompanied by armed Fulani herdsmen were occupying part of Agatu local government area of the state, where about 300 lives were allegedly lost last week and 7,000 persons displaced.
This came as fresh report indicated that the killing of villagers had continued unabated despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that a panel of investigation into the crisis be established and announcement of the establishment of an inter-agency security team to forestall further attacks.
Armed Fulani herdsmen Similarly, Benue State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, claimed the killings in Agatu by suspected Fulani herdsmen weres politically-motivated because the people of the area “overwhelmingly voted for Senator David Mark” in the last senatorial re-run election in Benue South senatorial District.
Yakadi, who led a team of police officers to assess the besieged communities, confirmed that seven villages, including Okokolo, Aila, Adagbo, Akwu, Omikuidi, Ocholonya and Odugbeho had been completely deserted. He told newsmen at the Command Headquarters in Makurdi, that the invaders stormed Agatu from Naka in Gwer West local government area of Benue State, Loco and Doma in Nasarawa State.
According to him: “The worrisome renewed attack on the Agatu communities by Fulani herdsmen was as a result of the alarming influx of the herdsmen into the area through neighbouring towns of Naka in Gwer West local government area of Benue State, Loco and Doma of Nasarawa State, where cattle are made to swim across the water to Agatu. The Command, which was on an assessment tour of the area few days ago to identify areas that security needed to be beefed up, discovered Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated weapons with their cows numbering over 5,000.
“We saw a number of houses that were either burnt or destroyed and foodstuffs from these areas were looted and some were burnt. The team also discovered that the following villages; Okokolo, Aila, Adagbo, Akwu, Omikuidi, Ocholonya and Odugbeho were deserted with no trace of persons living there while three corpses were seen in Aila and Adagbo.”
The Police Commissioner, who claimed the crisis had been brought under control, said the Police in conjunction with the state government and other sister security agencies had made conscious efforts to monitor and forestall further destruction of lives and properties in the area.