What started as feud over farms and grazing land and fish pond between the Fulani dominated Ologba and Agatu dominated Egba communities Agatu local government area of Benue state about two years ago, has since almost two years metamorphosed in a full scale war among the two neighboring communities who had lived together peacefully as brethren for many years. Agatu people who are predominantly farmers had initially raised an alarm over the manner in which some Fulani settlers regularly invades their farm lands, destroying and damaging both food and cash crops, all in the name of seeking pasture for their castles, but the inability of the Benue state government to effectively put measures in place at accommodating, pacifying and carrying both sides along only added more “fuel” to an already raging “fire”. The two neighbors eventually threw decorum and sanity into the wind and took the law into their own hands, series of attacks and reprisal attacks have resulted in a ‘river of blood’ that has continually flowed unabated.
Despite the intervention of leaders of the warring ethnic groups, the crisis which has already claimed the lives of over 400 men, women and children has resulted in the destruction of properties worth millions of naira. The animosity, lack of respect for the sanctity of human life, the open display of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man and the madness that has been shown by these two Benue communities is sad and unfortunate. Reports of many Agatus being hacked to death in their farms, pregnant women being killed by the Fulani fighters and the killing of hundreds of cantles, women and innocent Fulani children by the Agatu fighters have characterized the bloodshed and insanity between the Fulani settlers and their Agatu counterparts since almost two years.
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The clash resulted in hundreds of Agatus fleeing their homes which were completely raised and destroyed and some Fulanis also abandoned their place of residence which has been turned into a battle field, to seek cover and peaceful abode in nearby Bagana, a community situated in Omala local government area of Kogi state. Just as we thought that peace had gradually returned to their original home and the government of Benue and Kogi states had already begun arrangement to return the Fulani and Agatu peoples who had turned themselves into refugees in their own country. Another round of crisis ensued; this time around it was some Agatu youth who drew the first blood. This recent attack which have seen the battle ground shift from Benue state to Omala in kogi state where the displaced Fulanis, Agatu and Bagana residence whose homes has been completely destroyed take refuge, have resulted into the loss of almost a hundred lives and many properties.
The nearby Abejukolo, headquarters of Omala local government area, still in Kogi state has since became a centre of internally displaced persons. Not minding their refugee status, a cold war has characterized their stay in the past days, with reports of mutilated and decomposing bodies seen in several bushes and farmlands. There is urgent need for the governments of Benue and Kogi states to liaise with the Federal government as quickly as possible with the aim of halting this wanton destruction of lives and properties, and a deliberate and all inclusive measure put in place to put a permanent end to these killings and bloodshed once and for all.
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