Suspected herdsmen on Wednesday killed 16 persons and injured two others during an invasion of Ebete community in Usha council ward of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State.
Our correspondent gathered the herdsmen stormed the area at about 1am when the residents were fast asleep.
They reportedly opened fire on houses as the attacked community residents attempted to escape in the ensuing melee.
After the attackers escaped, 16 people were confirmed dead while two others sustained injuries.
They are said to be receiving treatment at General Hospital in Obagaji, headquarters of Agatu LGA.
An eyewitness, Daddy Seni, who spoke to our correspondent in Makurdi, said his father and siblings were among the deceased.
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The Acting Chairman of Agatu local government council, Alhaji Oyigocho, also confirmed the incident.
He said he had visited Ebete community with some council members in company of security agencies.
The Force Commander Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj Gen Adeyemi Yekini, said the armed bandits actually invaded there areas but that they were yet to ascertain the number of casualties.
“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.
“The location where it happened, although is in Benue can better be accessed through Loko in Nasarawa State”.
Yekini, in a statement explained, he had already deployed a patrol team to the area verify what really happened.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom described the incident as quite unfortunate and condemnable.
He urged security agencies to move to forestall further attacks on innocent people of Benue State.
Ortom, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, lterver Akase, said Benue can’t afford another rounds of killings close to general elections.
“Yes I can confirm that the governor of Benue State met earlier today with the commissioner of Police Mr. Bishi and he confirmed that there was attack in Ebete in Agatu earlier today in which seventeen persons were killed by suspected armed herdsmen.
“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,” he said.