20 killed, 100 houses set ablaze in Benue over disputed fishing pond
Over 20 persons have been killed and 100 houses set ablaze in Aila, Egba ward of Agatu local government area in Benue state.
The chairman of Agbaduma Development Association (AGA) Makurdi branch Benjamin Eigege disclosed this during an interactive session with reporters in Makurdi, Benue state capital
He called on the state and federal governments to deploy security men in Aila community to protect lives and property.
He alleged indigenes of Aila in Egba ward Agatu local government area in Benue south have been under incessant attacks from neighbouring Egba community over a disputed fishing pond.
He said suspected militia have so far killed 20 persons in Aila and set houses ablaze with many rendered homeless.
According to him, the lingering crisis assumed a more dangerous dimension on March 18 when an Aila man, Nghede Ibrahim, was shot dead at the fishing pond by suspected militia from Egba an adjoining village.
He stated further while the acting chairman of Agatu Local Government Council Alhaji Oyigbocho visited Aila community to calm down tensions and pleaded against reprisal attacks, some suspected militia stormed Aila community and killed 9 persons immediately he left.
“They set over 100 houses ablaze and destroyed property worth millions,” Eigege lamented..
He traced the history of the bloody lingering crisis to a fishing pond which is in dispute.
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He said attempts to get protection from the Benue security outfits has failed, forcing the community to resort to ” Save our Souls ” messages to the state and federal government.
He hoped for the immediate intervention from the government to enable Aila people go back to their ancestral land and farm as raining season sets in.
Benue Police command said more policemen would be deployed to the community and called for calm.
Chairman of Agatu local Government area Alhaji Oyigocho could not be reached for comment.
But a member of Agatu cLocal Government council said efforts were in top gear to bring the Egba/ Aila lingering crisis to an end.
He said a meeting of critical stakeholders is scheduled to hold to find a lasting peace among the warring communities.