By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—No fewer than six persons were feared dead, weekend, at Idele village, in a fresh bloody clash between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State.
Vanguard learned that the crisis, the first of its kind in the area, has created mass movement of persons, who are fleeing the crisis area for fear of being killed.
According to a Police source, crisis erupted in the community after the locals mobilized and besieged a Fulani settlement in the area to stop a large herd of cattle and herdsmen from gaining access into the village.
“The herdsmen and the cattle were moving into the village in large numbers to seek better pasture, but feeling threatened by the presence of the herdsmen, the villagers put up a blockage and asked their visitors to return to where they were coming from.
“There was resistance and a crisis ensued that snowballed into a clash that left three villagers killed and several person injured with some others unaccounted for.
“It was when the villagers discovered that two of their youths were killed and another that was earlier declared missing was also discovered to have been killed by the intruders, that they launched a reprisal on the herdsmen, killing and beheading three of them.
“As we speak, the herdsmen are deserting the community while the farmers are also fleeing their villages, though security has been beefed up in the area.”
Effort to reach the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Paul Yakadi, failed, but Vanguard learned that a detachment of the Mobile Police Force had been dispatched to the area.