From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
No fewer than 30 people were reportedly killed on Sunday evening in an attack on Odugbeho community in Agatu, Benue State, by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
Several other residents were injured in the attack which lasted for over one hour, reports say.
The chairman of the Agatu local government council, Adoyi Suleiman, who confirmed the attack to reporters by telephone on Monday, disclosed that 27 corpses have so far been recovered, with some already buried.
He explained that authorities, including troops of Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS and the police, were already on the ground to ensure peace, normalcy and security in the area.
Suleiman said that the attack has caused many residents of the community to flee to safety, with some of them currently taking refuge in Ogbaulu community.
Local sources report that the suspected herdsmen attacked the community during a burial ceremony on Sunday, which was also a market day.
Our sources said that the said herdsmen, who are believed to have crossed into the state from Nasarawa, invaded the community and wasted no time in shooting sporadically into the crowd at both the venue of the burial and the market square.
When contacted, the State Police Command confirmed the attack in a statement by the spokeswoman DSP Catherine Anene.
‘Agatu attack is confirmed and the Commissioner of Police has deployed more police officers to manage the incident and forestall further breakdown of law and order.
‘Number of victims is yet to be ascertained as officers are still engaged in stabilising the area,’ Anene said.