Nine killed, others injured in Kogi fresh communal clash
A fresh violent communal clash in Bagana, Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State, has erupted.
This happened in the late hours of Tuesday and left nine people dead and scores injured.
But a spokesman for Kogi State Police Command, DSP William Ayah, said only four persons were confirmed dead.
The over eight-year violent clash among ethnic groups in the area was allegedly re-ignited by some intruders taking advantage of the disunity of the original residents to claim ownership and headship of Bagana.
Attempt to resist the impostors and their fighters led to the loss of over 300 lives and properties worth millions of naira as bandits have turned the place into their area of “influence,” where they rob, loot, kidnap and kill wantonly.
According to sources, the latest attackers were believed to have sailed through the River Benue, berthed at Bagana river bank, and started shooting sporadically, forcing residents to seek refuge either in the forests or nearby villages.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that the attack on Bagana could not be different from the previous ones as it was said to have the same mode of operations.
A survivor, who escaped by a whisker but did not want his name published, told The Guardian that gunmen invaded a provision shop located in the heart of Bagana and opened fire, killing four persons on the spot.
Residents said the incessant killings by militias had forced the people to evacuate their families and property from their ancestral homes to become internally displaced persons in neighbouring villages and some states.
Confirming the incident, the Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), William Ayah, said the DPO at Omala had mobilised his men to the scene and evacuated some of the injured to the hospital for treatment.
He added that the police had commenced a manhunt to bring the perpetrators to book, assuring them that peace had returned and advised the people to return home to continue with their legitimate businesses.
It was also learned that as part of efforts to contain the violence, the immediate past governor, Idris Wada, had severally summoned the chiefs to Lokoja, and warned them to maintain peace, but unfortunately, the warning fell on deaf ears.
Detachments of soldiers and mobile policemen were stationed at the troubled area to maintain peace, but they too became victims as two soldiers and four policemen lost their lives
A community leader, Alhaji Ismaila Umar, urged Governor Yahaya Bello to establish naval and police posts in the village, saying the location of the village on the bank of River Benue had made it vulnerable to all kinds of criminals.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Omala Local Government Area, Onuh Ife (Joogba), HRH Boniface Musa, has condemned the killings and urged the Chairman of the council, Ibrahim Aboh, and Governor Yahaya Bello to enforce the earlier directive to the unauthorised chiefs in Bagana to relocate to their domains.
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