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Tears, blood as 12 feared dead in Agatu communal clash

Several houses were also said to have been burnt down while many people were reportedly still missing at the time of this report.

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At least 12 persons were on Sunday morning reportedly killed in Okokolo village allegedly by some youths from Abugbe village both in Agatu Local government area of Benue State.

The invading youths according to sources, stormed Okokolo while the locals were away worshipping God in their various churches.

Several houses were also said to have been burnt down while many people were reportedly still missing at the time of this report.

Although, details regarding why the Abugbe people attacked Okokolo were still sketchy at the time of this report, it was gathered that only on Saturday, a peace agreement was signed between Abugbe and Agbaduma communities who had been at loggerheads before then.

A native of Okokolo village, John Ikwulono told our correspondent that there were no prior issues between his people and Abugbe people to warrant the invasion and killing.

“This barbaric, unwarranted and inhuman attack occurred even when a series of peace meetings have been called. Just yesterday, a day before today’s attacks, Agbaduma community and Abugbe community it was gathered, signed peace agreement and promised to remain peaceful and ensure that there would be no further problem among themselves.

Ikwulono listed those who were confirmed dead from Okokolo to include Mr Baba Odoje, Mr Shaidu Magaji (a retired military man), Mr Oloche Obiabo (Kaddo), Adehi Imaikwu and Mr Maji Baba.

Others were Ngbede Ibrahim, Bello-Gene-Galih, Mr Ekoja, Adams Dogara (Pst. Dogara’s son) as well as one Francis Idu’s wife and her two children.

While noting that bodies of some persons who were suspected to have been killed in the attack were yet to be found, Ikwulono, a former supervisory councillor of the council, said so many persons, including Mrs Mary Adakonye a health worker who sustained bullet wounds in the attack were currently receiving treatment at different hospitals in Agatu.

Ikwulono who lamented the development said the situation, if not properly handled, was capable of destroying the entire Agatu.

“And  then there might be no place to call Agatu in the nearest future. God forbid it anyway; this is my candid advice to our leaders.

“I appreciate all those with genuine intentions to bring peace to the area, but those instigating crisis in the area shall know no peace for the rest of their lives,” Ikwulono warned.

When contacted, the Caretaker Chairman Agatu Local Government Council, Hon Usman Alilu, who confirmed the report said he had directed soldiers to the area to deal decisively with the perpetrators of the evil and arrest them.

“We are on top of the situation now. Thank you for your genuine concern and your tireless efforts,” he said.

Similarly, the state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sir John Ngbede in a telephone conversation expressed bitterness over the unfortunate situation.

Ngbede who is an indigene of Agautu said he had already informed the caretaker chairman to make sure the soldiers pick everyone involved in the attack to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Even if it is a stone you find there, don’t spare anyone, pick them up and deal with them mercilessly,” the visibly-angry PDP state chairman said.

Efforts to get the reaction of the police were not successful at the time of filing this report as calls made to the phone line of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, were neither picked nor returned.

A message was also sent to her but she was yet to give her reply before this report was filed.

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