At least 30 persons are reported killed in a clash between Eggon and Alago ethnic groups in Obi, Nasarawa State on Saturday. Some 30,000 persons, mostly women and children, have fled to other parts of Nasarawa and the neighboring Benue state due to insecurity.
A communal clash between the Ombatse and Alago tribes of Nasarawa state began on Friday and continued today. The crisis started with the resistance by Ombatse militia to the arrest of their member caught with weapons through a tipoff by Alago youths, and has consumed the entire town of Assakio in Lafia east and part of Obi local government area.
Obi is located along Lafia-Obi-Awe-Taraba borders Road, while Assakio is located along Lafia-Shendam Road, all in the southern parts of the state.
The youth spent Saturday morning attacking Obi village and then they proceeded to Assakio. They spent three hours spraying petrol before starting in both towns without any resistance from security agencies.
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. A number of villages had been razed; According to media reports, 50 houses burnt.
For fear of being attacked the local population did not evacuate the plenty of dead bodies that littered Obi.
Witnesses said the fully armed boys moved in a group chanting anti-police slogans and attacking anyone in sight. Then they bolted in motorcycles. Another witness said he saw some boys arrested by the Army and taken away in an Hilux van. Some women and children were seen with their bags and farm produce on their heads as they fled their communities to escape being attacked by the outlawed Ombatse militia group.
The government deployed troops to the area when the police could not contain the situation. A reliable top police source disclosed to Sunday Tribune that over 500 security operatives, including soldiers, riot policemen and other agencies, armed with rocket launchers, were deployed in the area.
Some14 trucks of armed soldiers from the 177 Brigade of Guards Battalion, known as Shitu Alao Barracks in Keffi, were deployed to areas hit in the Ombatse-Alago. Eyewitnesses, however, said the security operatives only looked on, as assailants set fire on towns and villages.
Deputy Governor of Nasarawa Condemns "Barbaric" Attack
The Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dameshi Barau Luka, went on a statewide broadcast, fingering the Eggon group of Ombatse in the arson that hit Adabu Alago, Obi town and Assakio. The broadcast followed the State Security Council (SCC) meeting that took place on Friday and Saturday. Luka said:
“This unprovoked attack by some Eggon youths suspected to be members of the outlawed Ombatse cult on the innocent people of Adabu and other parts of Obi and Assakio towns is to say the least, barbaric, condemnable and an affront on the security lives and properties of innocent citizens”.
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