At least 16 farmers have lost their lives after suspected herdsmen invaded a community in Benue state.
Sixteen people are reported to have been killed by suspected armed herdsmen in an attack on Agage community of Gwer West Local Government Area in Benue State, Channels Television has reported.
This was confirmed by the Special Adviser to the state governor on security, retired Col. Paul Hemba who said that according to the information from the local government chairman, Mr. Francis Ayaga, 16 farmers were killed in the incident which occurred on Friday.
Col. Hembe added that the police could only account for seven bodies after visiting the scene of the attack.
Farming communities in parts of Benue State have in recent times come under attack by suspected herdsmen, leading to the loss of many lives and destruction of properties, forcing thousands of residents to seek refuge in internally displaced people’s camps in the state capital, Maiduguri, and surrounding towns.
Although the attacks seemed to have been brought under control, especially towards the end of 2018, following the deployment of a military task force, Operation Whirl Stroke to the area, there are reports of renewed attacks in some areas, including Logo, Guma, Gwer West and Agatu Local Government Areas.
About two weeks ago, 17 people were reported to have been killed in Agatu council, which the state government condemned.
The media aide to the governor, Terver Akase, had said that the attack came shortly after Governor Samuel Ortom raised an alarm that “some persons for political reasons were planning to unleash armed herdsmen on innocent Benue people, to create fear in the people for political gains.”
The Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, also confirmed the attack but could not state the casualty figure.