Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen last Wednesday allegedly ambushed and killed three farmers in Bagana community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Those who lost their lives, according to the villagers, are Samson Ajene, Adah Audu and Monday Ocho.
The son of a popular timber dealer, Haruna Ajene, who was critically injured, is presently receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Abejukolo.
According to an eyewitnesses account, the incident occurred at about 4 p.m. when the victims, Ajene and Ocho met their untimely death on their farms at Ojuwo Igboone.
The source said Audu was also killed by the alleged Fulani herdsmen while conveying cassava tubers in his tricycle from the farm.
Also speaking on the attack, the Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of Omala Local Government Area on Security Matters, Mr. Steve Shaibu, said the victims were returning from the farms before they were ambushed and killed.
He said before the attack, the villagers around Obakume villages had allegedly made formal reports of the mass movement of some Agatu militia from Benue State to the forest with sporadic gunshots, stressing that they might have killed scores of cows belonging to Fulani herdsmen living in those areas.
The Special Adviser added that similar incident had occurred at Iyade near Abejukolo, the headquarters of the LGA in which the Agatu militia unleashed terror on the herders which reprisal by the Fulanis led to many deaths of the natives and many houses burnt. He lamented at the recent killings of the young men who he said eked out a living through farming, calling on the authority to intensify search at unraveling the perpetrators.
Shaibu explained that his office has written severally on the nefarious activities of criminal elements from Nassarawa and Benue States, who used the River Niger to launch attack on Fulani herders whose reprisal have always left the locals with tales of woes.
A member representing Omala Local Government Area in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Aliyu Akuh, also condemned the killing and maiming of the locals by gunmen.
He called on the state government and the security agencies to deploy their intelligence to arrest the ugly situation.
Akuh bemoaned the unwarranted crises between Agatu in Benue State and the Fulani which erupted in 2013, and had claimed more than 200 lives while properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed.
The lawmaker added that the state government should set up committee of enquiry to permanently resolve the impasse to prevent further clashes between the Fulani and Agatu people with its spill over devastation on the people of Omala LGA.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. William Aya, who confirmed the incident, said both the mobile and conventional police forces have been drafted to the area to forestall law and order.
Aya added that he was yet to get the actual number of deaths, but said the situation has been brought under control.