The peace initiative being pursued by the Benue and Nasarawa states governments over clashes between their indigenes at the border towns suffered a major setback at the weekend when suspected Fulani herdsmen allegedly  invaded two villages in Agatu local government area of Benue State where eight villagers were reportedly  killed at about 11am yesterday.

The attack is believed to be a reaction to the killing of 112 cows belonging to the Fulani herdsmen on Saturday by suspected Agatu villagers. Confirming the latest incident, a member representing Agatu constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon Sule Audu alleged that heavily armed Fulani herdsmen numbering about 40 invaded the two villages earlier yesterday.

The lawmaker  explained that the gunmen killed eight people, burnt down their houses including that of the acting royal father of Agatu, Och’ Agatu. According to him:”As I talk to you now, many of my constituent members are taking refuge in my house. The gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen sacked the two villages including that of the acting Och’Agatu.”

He stated further that the attackers came through the neigbouring village of Ochichi in Apa local government area instead of using the normal riverine border of Nasarawa State that had before now been their entry and exit point in the past.

He said,  “I believe they changed their position because of the recent peace initiative brokered between the two states to keep watch over their area in order to avoid strange fellows using their domain as exit and entry route for the purpose of perpetrating evil.

“The attack came to us as a surprise because they changed their normal route which is the riverine border of Nasarawa to now enter through Ochichi viilage of Apa that has no water boundary with the affected communities”, he added.

But speaking for the Fulani herdsmen ,  the Secretary of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in Benue State, Garus Gololo,  denied that his people carried out the attack, saying  that the herdsmen  were actually the victims of Saturday’s attack on their herds.

He said, “The Agatu people killed 112 cows belonging to us yesterday (Saturday) but we did not retaliate since relevant authorities are already looking into the issue. Now, as a matter of mischief, they have said that Fulani attacked them. It is the Agatu soldiers ‘patari’ headed by one Emmanuel that has attacked his own people. I don’t know why these people are bent on chasing the Fulani out of this country.”

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