Suspected herdsmen yesterday killed 16 persons in an early morning attack on Ebete community in Agatu Local Council of Benue State. The Guardian learnt that the 1.30 a.m. invasion also left scores injured.
An eyewitness, Daddy Seni, whose father was slain alongside his siblings, said he was called on phone by his dad while heading for fishing in the neighbouring Aloko settlement.According to him, on arriving home, he saw his father in his pool of blood screaming, “my son, do no bother about me and your siblings again. Ours have finished. We cannot survive these gunshots. Run for your dear life and tell others about this.”
The council chairman, Alhaji Oyigocho, who confirmed the incident, stated that he and his entourage, including security personnel, heard the assailants speak Fulani language while fleeing the scene after perpetrating the act. Oyigocho appealed to government to urgently come to the aid of the people and contain further onslaughts.His words: “This is happening at a time Nigerians are preparing to elect new leaders in this Saturday elections. If the situation continues, it will disorganise so many things.
“My people have never taken laws into their hands despite provocations from herdsmen. They had in the past taken over farmlands in most parts of Agatu.”The council boss said of the 16 casualties, three were Jukum hunters while two others are currently receiving treatment for injuries sustained.
The Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major-General Adeyemi Yekini, was doubtful of the casualty figure.“I received a report this afternoon (yesterday) that some people were killed in Agatu by suspected armed bandits. We have sent a patrol team to the general area where the incident happened.
“Though the location is in Benue, it can better be accessed through Loko in Nasarawa State,” he said in a statement.In a similar vein, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has neutralised dozens of terrorists when its fighter jet bombarded a Boko Haram camp at Arboko village in Borno State.
Its spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement yesterday in Maiduguri, said the aerial strikes were launched after an intelligence platform established the presence of insurgents in the border town with Cameroun. He said: “The fighter jet of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has decimated a Boko Haram Terrorist (BHT) camp and neutralised some of their fighters at a settlement called Arboko in Borno State.”
On how the terrorists were eliminated, Daramola hinted: “The operation was conducted on February 18, 2019 while a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha.Jet and an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform were providing close air support to troops of 82 Brigade, Nigerian Army.“During the operation, the ISR aircraft spotted a group of BHT fighters within Arboko village and vectored the Alpha Jet to engage their camp.”