Cecilia Onah, Lafia
No fewer than 38 residents of Tarkalafia and Kwaja communities in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State were gruesomely murdered on Thursday night by herdsmen who were said to be on a revenge mission.
The Dune Newspaper gathered that the attack was as a result of a disagreement between a farmer and a herdsman in the area.
The herdsman took his cows to graze on a groundnut and maize farmland. The cows completely ate the crops which angered the farmer, leading to a fierce battle between him and the herdsman.
“As the farmer was talking to the herdsman to send his cows out of his (farmer’s) farm, a fierce disagreement ensued and the herdsman brought out his cutlass and started fighting the farmer; but the farmer overpowered him, snatched his cutlass and fought him back, and the herdsman died.
“This was what led to the killings of residents of this area by the herdsmen,” a source told our correspondent.
Our correspondent further gathered that the Pastor-in-charge of the Evangelical Church Winning All in the area, Rev. Daniel Danbeki and the 37 other victims were murdered by the assailants during the attack which lasted from 9pm on Thursday night till the early hours of Friday.
However, a mass burial was held on Saturday, for the victims of the attack which include women and children.
The Deputy Governor of the State, Emmanuel Akabe, led a government delegation to the mass burial which was conducted amid tears from sympathizers and other members of the communities.
Speaking during the mass burial, Akabe condemned the wanton killings and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
He expressed shock over the killings, and assured that the state government will investigate the cause of the attacks and bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book, adding that relief materials will be provided for displaced people in the area.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of Karu LGA, James Thomas, who visited the attacked communities before the mass burial, completely condemned the attack by the herdsmen.
Thomas, who was represented by his Deputy, Lawal Karshi, however, appealed for calm and vowed to work closely with the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the act in order for them to face the full wrath of the law.
Reacting to the incident in a statement made available to Journalists in Lafia on Sunday, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ramhan Nansel, said the command had commenced an investigation into the matter in order to arrest and prosecute those involved in the dastardly act.
The statement reads, “On 11/5/2023 at about 10pm, information was received that one Jibo Alhaji Ali, 18years and Fulani by tribe was attacked by unidentified persons while on his way to kwaja village, Gitata.
“Upon receipt of the information, Police operatives attached to Gitata Division raced to the scene and rushed the victim with machete cut on his head to Na-Allah private hospital, Gitata where he died while receiving treatment.
“Sequel to the above, information was received that Tarkalafia and Kwaja village were attacked.
“Reacting to the above, the Commissioner of Police, CP Maiyaki Baba, deployed police operatives comprising of mobile police personnel, counter terrorism unit, and the military to the area where fourteen corpses were recovered and taken to the hospital and subsequently buried.
“The Commissioner of Police hereby condole with all those who lost their loved ones and ordered discreet investigation to unravel the faces behind the attack, assuring that anyone found culpable will be dealt with according to provisions of the law.”