Armed men kill mother and her 2 children as well as 20 other people in Agatu crisis
A woman and her two children are feared dead after armed youths and militia descended on Agatu Local Government Area, Benue State. A retired military officer and 20 other people were also killed in the attack. The attackers are said to come from Agbube, also in Benue State.
Many other people were left critically injured from gunshot wounds. Apart from the loss of lives, houses and other properties were burnt to the ground in Okokolo village.
According to Vanguard, the communities have a history of clashes. Their inter-communal crisis usually stems from their disagreements over the ownership of the fishing ponds in their fishing communities. Ironically, the two communities had just signed a peace accord to end their age-long feud less than 24 hours before the attack.
A witness had this to say about the Agatu crisis, the peace accord and the attack that followed:
“Just when we thought that peace was about to return to these communities to put an end to bloody frequent conflicts, they struck us again. They came early in the morning when many people in Okokolo had gone to church. These armed youths from Abugbe were supported by a gang of militia. They came to Okokolo, shooting indiscriminately and killing anyone they saw.”
“People began running helter-skelter, but the attackers chased them and killed anyone they were able to catch up with. They were not satisfied with just killing because soon after they began to set houses and other property ablaze. They left after this.”
“Right now, some of the houses and huts are still on fire. Everyone is gone and the whole village is deserted. We have recovered some of the bodies they left behind in their mayhem. There are 12 corpses so far, including a mother and her two children. The search is still on for 11 people, who are already feared dead.”
“We are afraid that these attacks could have been masterminded by prominent people, who are fighting hard to make sure there is no peace even after all the conflict resolution efforts. Right now we are concentrating on taking the wounded for treatment. They are in private hospitals in Agatu and Apa Local Government areas.”
The Caretaker Chairman of Agatu Local Government Council, Mr. Usman Alilu, has spoken on the issue. He told the press that he had directed soldiers to the conflict zone to bring peace and to fish out the masterminds of the attack.
“The situation is under control and peace will soon be restored,” he said.
The state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sir John Ngbede, who hails from Agatu, assured the people that the Caretaker Chairman was working with security personnel to put an end to the Agatu crisis issue. He promised that the masterminds would be arrested.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Deputy Superintendent Catherine Anene, confirmed that 10 people lost their lives in the Agatu crisis.
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