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45 farmers killed, 5,000 displaced, in Nasarawa reprisal attacks

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The Police in Nasarawa State has confirmed the killing of 45 people with 27 injured following what it described as reprisal attacks in renewed hostility between farmers and herders in Lafia, Obi and Awe local government areas of the state.

The State Police Command spokesman, ASP Rahman Nansel, who confirmed the incident in a statement on Monday, said the attacks started from Saturday and continued till Monday when combat police officers were deployed to quell the skirmish.

ASP Nansel said a complaint was made on Friday that one Umaru Idrisu of Gidan Washi village in Obi LGA was attacked and killed by unknown armed men.

“On receiving the complaint, the Commissioner of Police, CP Adesina Soyemi immediately directed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Obi LGA to move to the scene where the corpse was recovered and later taken to the hospital for postmortem before it was released to the family for burial according to Islamic rites.

“While the investigation was ongoing, a suspected reprisal attack was carried out by unknown persons in Hangara village, Lafia East Development Area in Lafia LGA and crossed over to the neighbouring Kwayero village of Obi LGA.

“The following persons namely; Sani Dauda, Danjuma Liambee, Uloho Jerry, Shedrack Kente, Boniface John, Tersoo Clement, Gwanje Soja and Ayuba Ali were attacked and killed; their corpses were recovered and taken to the hospital by the Police.

“A joint team of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the military has been mobilised to the affected areas to restore peace and possible arrest of the perpetrators of the dastardly act,” he said.

A resident of one of the affected communities who spoke on the invasion, said the gunmen had last month, invaded the Ashige community in Lafia LGA where two Fulani herdsmen were shot dead, which led to a riot before calmness was restored to the community by security operatives.

Also speaking on the crisis, the Nasarawa State President of Tiv Development Association (TID), Peter Ahemba, said that over 20 corpses of his kinsmen were recovered across the 12 affected communities in the three local government areas of the state.

“The affected communities are Chabo, Daar, Tse-Udugh, Ayaakeke, Kyor-Chiha, Usual, Hagher, Joor, Angwan, Ayaba, Tyungu and Ugba.

Read also: Attack on Nasarawa Dep Gov ‘highly condemnable’ —Ortom

“Over 5,000 persons have been displaced and are taking refuge in Obi and Agwatashi towns while some of them have relocated to their relatives in Lafia Local Government Area of the state.

“Many are still missing in the bush and we don’t know whether they are alive or dead.

“Tiv people did not do anything that would warrant this attack,” Ahemba said, while calling on both the state and the federal governments to deploy security operatives to the affected areas to restore law and order.

State Governor Abdullahi Sule, who while addressing residents of the state on Monday, said his administration had launched a manhunt for the killers of the Fulani herders and Tiv farmers in the state at the weekend.

The Governor, who also held a meeting with the heads of security agencies, traditional rulers and Tiv and Fulani community leaders in Obi Local Government Area of the state, said his administration would protect the lives and property of citizens in the state.

“There was needless loss of lives of our citizens. Such act of violence is most unfortunate, condemnable, and unacceptable and will not be condoned by this administration.

“I am admonishing you all to live in peace with one another and to shun mischief makers looking for opportunities to cause mayhem,” Sule said.

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