BY PETET DURU
MAKURDI – At last 15 persons were feared killed in an outbreak of fighting between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers at Ipiga village in Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue state.
Vanguard gathered yesterday from a source in the area that the crisis erupted initially on Sunday afternoon when some armed herdsmen stormed neigbouring Ajegbe village where they grazed and destroyed farmland in the area.
“From there they moved into Ipiga village on Monday morning shooting sporadically, though they met a stiff resistance from the locals.
“A bloody fighting erupted, two of the herdsmen were killed while about 13 of the villagers were also killed though many are still missing and unaccounted for.
When contacted, the Seniour Special Assistant to the Benue State Governor on Fulani Matters, Alhaji Garus Gololo said two herdsmen were killed in the crisis.
Gololo said, “I just came back from the area this afternoon, two herdsmen were killed by the villagers and many cows were also killed and many others were rustled.”
“I met the Ardo of the area and everyone has been warned against any form of reprisal attack and there was nothing like that because the government has warned against this kind of crisis in the state.”
“Though the body of one of the killed herdsmen has been recovered and it’s with the police but the search for the other is still ongoing.”
When contacted, State Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Moses Yamu said he was yet to receive full details of the crisis.
Vanguard recalls that the crisis came barely three days after the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama called a peace meeting of Fulani herdsmen and farmers where he cautioned against the reoccurrence of the clashes.
It also came on the heels of last week’s peace treaty brokered by Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Tanko Al/makura between neighboring Agatu farmers and Fulani herdsmen.
Despite the peace pact, majority of the people of area and major stakeholders of Agatu had insisted that the peace pact was not binding on the ordinary people of Agatu.