It was a black Sunday for the people of Agatu Local Council of Benue State, as 12 persons were reportedly killed at Okokolo settlement by youths suspected to be hired militia from Abugbe community in the early hours of yesterday.

But confirming the crisis, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state command, Catherine Anene, put the casualty figure at 10.

The spokesperson, who said the cause of the crisis was yet unknown, noted that investigation into the matter was ongoing.

It was gathered that the killers also set homes ablaze while the villagers were still in churches.

Former supervisory councillor for Agatu, John Ikwulono, who spoke to newsmen described the attack as barbaric, unwarranted and inhuman.

According to Ikwulono, the attack was coming amid series of meetings called to make peace between the two communities over their time-honoured dispute.

When contacted, the caretaker chairman of Agatu, Usman Alilu, said he directed the soldiers to the area to arrest and deal decisively with the perpetrators of the evil.

Also, Benue PDP chairman, John Ngbede, an indigene of Agatu, expressed bitterness over the crisis, which he described as unfortunate.

Ngbede, in a telephone interview, said he had informed the caretaker chairman to make sure that soldiers picked everyone involved in the attack.

“Even if it is a stone you find there, pick them up and deal with them mercilessly.

“This situation, if not properly handled, is capable of destroying the entire Agatu. There may be no place to call Agatu in the nearest future. God forbid anyway. This is my candid advice to our leaders. I appreciate all those with genuine intentions to bring peace to the area, but those instigating crisis in the area shall know no peace for the rest of their lives,” Ngbede added.