No fewer than 40 persons have been reported killed when armed herdsmen Sunday evening attacked Odugbeho in Agatu local government area of Benue state.
The herdsmen were said to have attacked the community on Sunday which was also a market day around 6 pm.
Confirming the attack, a witness and an indigene of the village, Isaac Oche said the suspected herdsmen invaded their village around 6pm and started shooting sporadically, killing anyone in sight.
He said after the assailants left the community around 7 pm, some of them that were lucky to have escaped the raging swords and bullets of the marauders returned and met only ruins.
“When the herdsmen came some of us ran to the bush and later when we returned to the village shortly after the attack, we recovered 21 bodies from the village centre.
“We could not stay any longer to recover all the dead bodies in the night because it was dark and there was no security. I believe more bodies will be recovered when security agents are around this morning”, he added.
He said the herdsmen who were believed to have come from Nasarawa state, passed through their neighbouring local government of Gwer West in a guerrilla style, took them unawares.
According to him, the high number of casualties is due to the fact that it was on Sunday and most people were at home.
John Ngbede, the state PDP chairman, also a leader in Agatu, who confirmed that 40 people were killed, said the incident happened on a market day.
“It was a market day when the people observed that herdsmen had invaded the area. “Imagine the defenceless people on a market day; you can imagine what will happen.
“The casualty as I was told by a community leader there is more than 40, but as of this morning they had buried 25 corpses and still searching the bush because many are still missing.
“I spoke with the chairman of the local government and he told me he is with security men in the bush to recover bodies of those killed while trying to escape through the bush,” he added.
At the time of filing this report, Odugbeho which was attacked Sunday by the herdsmen was a ghost of itself as residents all deserted the area for fear of the unknown.
Benue Police Command Spokesperson DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene when contacted confirmed the incident but said they were yet to know the exact number of persons killed.
She said, “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 stabilizing the area.”