“As of yesterday evening I can confirm that 45 persons were killed, but whether the figure has risen can only be ascertained later today,” spokesman for Agatu Nigerian Police Command, Austin Ezeani, told reporters.
The Benue State command of the Nigerian Police has confirmed that 45 people were killed early Sunday when gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked Egba village in Agatu Local Government Area of the state.
The spokesperson for the command, Austin Ezeani, who made the confirmation to PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone, also said several others who were injured in the attack, were receiving treatment.
“As of yesterday evening I can confirm that 45 persons were killed, but whether the figure has risen can only be ascertained later today,” he said.
There are reports that over 60 people, including women and children, were killed in the pre-dawn attack.
The member representing Apa/Agatu at the Benue State House of Assembly, the Punch newspaper quoted Audu Sule, as saying at least 60 bodies had been evacuated.
Mr. Sule said gunmen usually crossed over from Nasarawa State to kill locals without provocation. He said those who survived the attack were taking refuge in Obagaji/Ogbalu, the headquarters of Agatu LGA.
Vanguard quoted a source as saying 90 bodies had been recovered.
The police spokesperson, Mr. Ezeani, said the Commissioner of Police on Monday led top security officials to the area to assess the damage. Exact details of the attack will be made available after the visit, he said.
He said the attackers are suspected to have come in from neighboring Nasarawa state, and that they raided the community after crossing a nearby river.
“They crossed over the river and caught both the villagers and security personnel unawares,” he said.
There have been frequent attacks in the area mostly between the natives and Fulani herdsmen.
The Police spokesperson however said the command has not made any arrest, adding that investigation has since commenced.