Governor of Nasarawa state, Umaru Tanko Al-makura,
George Okoh in Lafia
About 10 persons and the district head of Gidan-Rai, Zhe Meri, were yesterday killed in Agyaragu in Nasarawa State as clashes between two ethnic groups degenerated.
Chairman of Jenkwe Development Union, who led the state Deputy Governor, Dameshi Luka, Mr. Sam Agidi, and security chiefs in the state on an assessment tour of the area, confirmed the casualty figure to reporters
As at yesterday morning charred remains of some victims still littered the area as people were seen leaving the area in huge number.
According to the chairman, the crisis began on Wednesday morning following the apprehension of a boy by a vigilante group over an allegation of a motorcycle theft.
He said efforts by the vigilante to arrest an accomplice of the suspected thief was resisted by a group of armed men, resulting in a shoot out between the vigilante and the group.
Agidi explained that when the report got to him, he quickly alerted the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area to quell the crisis.
“ I later got another information that a group of Eggon ethnic militia known as ‘Ombatse’ had mobilised and were heading towards the town in large numbers armed with dangerous weapons.
“This prompted me to call the Commissioner of Police, Abayomi Akeremale, who assured me that he had deployed anti-riot policemen to tackle the situation,” Agidi said.
The state Deputy Governor, Dameshi Luka, described the incident as ‘Barbaric’ given the level of devastation caused by the crisis.
“From the briefing we have gotten so far from the administrator and security, one cannot really ascertain the real cause of the crisis for now but I can assure you that we would get to the root of the matter,” he said.
He explained that the state government in collaboration with the security agencies have been able to restore normalcy in the area and was working assiduously to put all the displaced persons in camps.
“We have taken stock of what has happened and immediately we return back to Lafia, we are going into a security meeting to review the situation and come up with a firm decision on the next line of action to checkmate the escalation of the situation,” he added.
Recalled that earlier in the year the dominant Eggon and Alago ethnic groups clashed in Asakio, Lafia East Local Government Area which led to several killings.