The people of the community, it was gathered, had been at loggerheads with the herdsmen who they accused of destroying their farmlands and terrorizing them over the last three years.
An indigene of the community told newsmen that the herdsmen had threatened to chase the residents out of Okuke, a development which, he said, prompted Amorji to constitute a 15-man delegation to meet with them (the herdsmen) for a peace talk.
The community indigene, who craved anonymity, said the delegation was on the way for the peace talk when they were ambushed by herdsmen, who he alleged opened fire at them, killing three and inflicting gunshot injuries on two others.
He said one person was still missing and that those injured were receiving treatment at a hospital in Kwale, headquarters of the Ndokwa West Local Government Area, while the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuary.
He lamented that indigenes of the community could no longer go to their farms or markets in neighbouring communities for fear of being ambushed and attacked by the armed herdsmen.
Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Celestina Kalu, confirmed the killings and said the incident was a suspected reprisal attack.
She disclosed that a Fulani herdsman had earlier been reported killed in the community in the last one week.
Kalu said: “After some days, some of the villagers went to the police to complain that three of their indigenes were missing. A search party was raised and the bodies of three persons were found.”
By Ochuko Akuopha