From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi

Few days to the presidential and National Assembly elections, Fulani herdsmen killed 16 persons in Ebete, in Usha ward, Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.

The unprovoked attack on Agatu which occured at the early hours of Wednesday, started at exactly 1am when people were deeply asleep.

According to an eye witness, Daddy Seni whose father was also killed alongside his siblings, he left his father at Ebete while heading to Aloko for fishing when he received call from his father asking him to turn back, that he has been shot by Fulani herdsmen.

Daddy Seni said “On reaching where his father was lying down at the pool of his blood about giving up, he sighted his father and was going to take him to the hospital when he heard a voice from his father saying, “my son, don’t bother about me and your siblings again, ours have finished, we can’t survive this gunshots, run for your dear life to tell others about this”, then he gave up.

The deceased son who narrated the incidence to Agatu Council Chairman Hon Alhaji Oyigocho who rushed to Ebete with some Council members alongside security men, said he heard the killers speaking Fulani language while trying to run from the scene as he (Seni the deceased son) hid himself in the bush.

He said among the 16 persons that were murdered by herdsmen, were three Jukum hunters who were hunting animal before they met their untimely death.

Reacting to the unfortunate incidents, the Acting Chairman Agatu Local Government Council, Hon Alhaji Oyigocho appealed to the government to quickly come to their aid.

He said this is happening at a time Nigerians are preparing to elect their new leaders in this Saturday elections, adding that, if the situation continues, it will disorganize so many things.

He said his people have never taken laws into their hands despite provocations from herdsmen whom he said had taken over farm lands in most parts of Agatu land.

Hon Oyigocho urged Agatu sons and daughters to remain calm to allow the law enforcement agencies to  carry out their duties effectively.

Confirming the incident, the head of Operation Whirl Stroke, (OPWS) in Benue, General Adeyemi Yekini acknowledged receipt of a report that some people were killed in Agatu by suspected armed bandits.

“I received a report this afternoon that some people were killed in Agatu by suspected armed bandits. I’m not sure of the number of casualty yet but I don’t think it’s up to 16.  We have sent a patrol team to the general area where the incident happened.

“Although, the location where it happened can better be accessed through Loko in Nasarawa State, We are already sending a patrol team there to verify what really happened”, Gen. Yekini said.

Reacting to the Agatu killings, Governor Samuel Ortom confirm that the governor of Benue State met earlier today with the commissioner of Police Mr. Bishi who confirmed the attack in Ebete in Agatu.

Govrrnor Ortom however said 17 persons were killed by the suspected armed herdsmen.

The Governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase described the attack as unfortunate saying he has reported of threats of attack on Ben he people.

“We feel that this is unfortunate, because the governor has raised an alarm that some persons for political reasons are planning to unleashed armed herdsmen on innocent Benue people, to create fear in the people for political gains.

“This is quite unfortunate and is condemnable. The government of Benue State condemned this and urges security agencies to immediately move in to forestall further attacks on innocent people of Benue State”.

Ortom insisted that the state can’t afford to have another rounds of killings that occured in 2018