Just as community returned to their long deserted homes due to represal attacks by Fulani militia, killings resumes in three North-Central states including Nasararwa.
In the last 72 hours alone no fewer than 35 persons were liked in separate attacks, including a pregnant woman. Most of the attacks took place at night when their victims hardly were asleep, with security agents usually responding late.
In Nasarawa State, gunmen suspected to be Fulani militia invaded Abebe community in Keana Local Government Area and killed a church leader, Mr. Augustine Avertse and three others in the attack. The gunmen, who were said to be have been armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded the community at about 10.00pm, and shot sporadically, forcing inhabitants of the community to scamper for safety.
One of the victims, Mr. Augustine Avertse, a church leader of Saint Augustine’s Catholic Church, Abebe, alongside his father, Pa Avertse Akaa’am, were reportedly shot at close range while trying to escape into a nearby bush. Also killed on the spot were Uwongul John Akodi and one Monday, who was said to be a visitor to the community. Mr. Vitalis Adam and Friday Gboko escaped with varying degrees of gunshot injuries and are currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Obi.
One of the survivals, Adam, who spoke with our correspondent on his hospital bed in Obi, averred that the attack was unprovoked as there had never been any form of misunderstanding between members of the community and the Fulani herdsmen living around the area.
Another survival, who narrowly escaped death, asserted that the gunmen might have been on a mission to rub a member of the community of the over N200,000 realised from the sale of some farm produce that took place in the afternoon of the fateful day.
According to him, “But the confusion is that if the attackers were on a mission to rub, while is it that they did not take away anything, including the monies found in the pockets of some of their victims? I think the incident is a sign that another round of crises between farmers and Fulani herders in the southern senatorial zone of the state is about to commence if care is not taken”.
President of the Tiv Youth Organisation in Nasarawa State, Comrade Peter Ahemba, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Lafia, alleging that the unprovoked attack was a calculated attempt by enemies of peace and to cause another round of crisis. According to him, it was unfortunate that while the Abdullahi Sule-led administration was working hard to ensure a peaceful Nasarawa State, some selfish individuals were working hard to sabotage government’s efforts.
Ahemba commended the prompt response of the authorities of Keana Local Government Council, security operatives in the area, traditional rulers and other stakeholders, just as he called on the Tiv youths to remain calm in the face of the provocation.
Niger State is not spared these murderous attacks as death toll in the state keeps rising with cattle rustling also on the increase.