Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nasarawa Violence: Scores killed, houses razed, 30,000 displaced

No fewer than 30,000 persons, mostly women and children within and
around the affected areas, have fled to other parts of the state and
the neighbouring Benue state for safety.
The communal clash between the Ombatse and Alago tribes of Nasarawa
state that began on Friday continued on Saturday, with the crisis
extending to Obi local government main town and Assakio area of Lafia
The crisis, which started on Friday as a result of the resistance by
Ombatse militia to the arrest of their member caught with weapons
through a tipoff by Alago youths, has consumed the entire town of
Assakio in Lafia east and part of Obi local government area as at the
early hours of Saturday.
In Obi, the resident of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) North
Central Zonal Chairman, Yusuf Ayitogo, was razed just like that of a
former Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Salihu Iyimoga.
The properties were reportedly touched by members of the Ombatse
militia group. Two cars belonging to the PDP chieftain were also
The youth spent the morning hours of Saturday attacking Obi village
after which they proceeded to Assakio without any hinderance from
security agencies as they spent close to three hours in both towns
spraying petrol before starting fires.
Scores of dead bodies littered the town of Obi as residents remained
afraid to evacuate bodies of victims for fear of been attacked.
Witnesses told PREMIUM TIMESthe fully armed boys moved in a group
chanting anti-police slogans, and then attacking anyone in sight.
They then bolted in motorcycles.
Another witness said he saw some boys arrested by the Army and taken
away in an Hilux van.
"I saw a white HIlux pick with army drop some boys about twelve of
them with one of the army shouting get down and follow the bush," the
source said.
The PDP zonal chairman told PREMIUM TIMEShe had relocated his family
to Keana local government area, few kilometers from the scene of the
"I have relocated to Keana with my family before thinking of what next
to do," he said.
Already, no fewer than 30,000 persons, mostly women and children
within and around the affected areas, have fled to other parts of the
state and neighbouring Benue state for safety.
Spokesperson for the Nasarawa state command of the police, Cornelius
Ocholi, wouldn't comment for this story. When contacted on telephone,
he simply said, "I am engaged with the commissioner of police now and
would call you later".
Meanwhile, the state government, in a state-wide broadcast yesterday
condemned the incident, warning that government would not "stand by
and watch these heartless criminals in our state unleash a reign of
terror on innocent citizens of the state"
The state deputy governor, Damishi Luka, who made the broadcast on
behalf of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, said government had taken
adequate measures to bring the situation under control.
But despite the assurance, there was apprehension around the state
that the militia groups were mobilizing to attack more settlements

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