Corpses found in wells, shallow graves in Nasarawa
Death toll from the weekend invasion of Igga settlement of Nasarawa-Eggon, near Lafia in Nasarawa State by militants who killed many people must have risen by yesterday after security personnel and government officials discovered more corpses in the town.
Some corpses were discovered in wells and shallow graves at various locations, government and security personnel said yesterday but they did not give any figures.
Many residents including children and women were killed in Igga, barely a month after Gwandara people who were earlier displaced by a previous crisis returned to the area. The police said the killing was sparked off by a misunderstanding between a Gwandara and an Eggon over a piece of land, although details were still sketchy by yesterday.
The troubled town, inhabited by Gwandara and Eggon people, had suffered a similar bloody crisis about a year ago after Eggon, Fulani and Gwandara people were locked in hostilities which later culminated in the May 7, 2013 incident in Alakyo where about 74 security operatives were murdered. Law enforcement agencies and a commission of inquiry had long blamed that crisis on the Ombatse, but the group insisted it never killed anybody.
The renewed violence displaced thousands, Dr. Abdullahi Idris, the Executive Secretary of Nasarawa Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) told Daily Trust. He said displaced persons were taking refuge in Lafia, Doma, Rutu and Bassa.
“We discovered some of the bodies in mass graves. Some were in wells,” he said, adding that a report of the visit was sent to the state governor, Umaru Tanko AlMakura.
State secretary of the Red Cross, Jerry Kuje, said he had no details because he had no full briefing. But he said his men recovered some corpses in Igga. State police spokesman, ASP Umaru Ismaila, said he had no details as well. “No arrests made yet, we are still investigating the crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ombatse group’s legal adviser, Barrister Zamani Zachary Allumaga, has denied any involvement, saying reports linking the group with the Igga incident were part of mischief against them. Meanwhile, an emergency state security meeting convened by the governor resolved that he (Al-Makura) would go to Abuja to brief President Goodluck Jonathan and seek federal government action on the crisis and other violence troubling the state. State police commissioner, Ibrahim Idris, who briefed newsmen after the meeting in Government House said the meeting condemned the killing and called for calm.