BY PETER DURU
MAKURDI — An 11-year-old boy and four others have reportedly been killed while eight villages were also sacked, Sunday morning, in a bloody conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Idoma farmers of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Vanguard gathered from eyewitnesses that crisis broke out in Agatu after some yet-to-be identified persons allegedly killed 11-year-old Abdulkadir Mohammed and forcefully took away 10 cows from a Fulani herdsman.
According to our source, the development forced a reprisal by the herdmen who also invited mercenaries from neigbhouring Nasarawa State to fight on their side.
“The reprisal on Agatu is far-reaching because no fewer than eight villages have already been sacked by the invaders. Houses and farmland have also been destroyed. And our fear is that four persons are currently missing and they might have been killed by the invaders,” he said.
Reacting, State Secretary of Meyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, an umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen, Alhaji Garus Gololo, said: “In Agatu, just after Bagaji by the River Benue, some people suspected to be Agatu indigenes invaded the herdsmen; they killed one 11-year-old boy, 10 cows and forcefully took away 360 cows from the herdsmen. As we speak, the herdsmen are chasing after the attackers to get back their cows.”
But in a swift reaction , the lawmaker representing Agatu at the State House of Assembly, Mr. Audu Sule, debunked rumours that his people attacked the herdsmen, saying: “I cannot say the gunmen are Fulanis. They are hired mercenaries numbering up to 1,500 and they crossed over from Nasarawa State through the river to cause mayhem. They have burnt eight villages so far and now moving towards the local government headquarters.”
Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Suprintendent of Police Daniel Ezeala said the command was not aware of the development.