The Fulani community in Benue State, accused of killing hundreds in Agatu in Benue State, said Thursday that the crisis started after 10,000 of cattle belonging to its members were killed by Agatu natives.
Ado Boderi, who spoke on behalf of the Fulani community on Thursday, during a meeting between Agatu community, Fulani community and Police Inspector General Solomon Arase, said criminal elements from both sides escalated the crisis despite the quick intervention of the governor.
He said that Fulani herdsmen were a peace-loving people, whose main concern was the problem of cattle rustling.
Akpa Iduh, who spoke on behalf of the Agatu people, decried the continued unprovoked attacks on his people by “Fulani mercenaries”.
Mr. Iduh, who said that the crisis started over five decades ago, lamented that it had recently turned into a war because of the types of weapons the herdsmen were using against them.
He alleged that the “Fulani mercenaries” were killing both children and pregnant women on sight, adding that they were powerless after embracing the Benue Amnesty Programme and surrendered illegal arms to government.
“The herdsmen are bent on turning our land into their grazing area, thereby rendering us homeless and without food.
“Is it because we are minority and poor that they are using their numerical advantage and wealth against us?
“We are going to remain in Agatu until the day they have succeeded in killing all of us.”
The Inspector- General of Police, Solomon Arase, said in Makurdi that the force had deployed enough policemen to end the clashes between Agatu farmers and herdsmen in Benue.