FULANI HERDSMEN INVADE NASARAWA COMMUNITY, KILL FATHER, SON, TWO OTHERS

Umar Muhammed, Lafia

Gunmen suspected to be members of a Fulani militia have stormed the Abebe community in the Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, and killed a Christian leader, Mr Augustine Avertse, and three others.

The gunmen, who were said to be armed with sophisticated weapons, arrived the community around 10pm on Monday and shot indiscriminately in the air, compelling inhabitants of the community to scamper for safety.

Investigation by Northern City News on Tuesday revealed that the attackers shot Augustine, who was a leader at the Saint Augustine’s Catholic Church, Abebe, alongside his father, Akaa’am Avertse, at close range as they tried to escape into a nearby bush.

The names of the two other victims were given as Mr Uwongul John Akodi and one Monday, who was said to be a visitor to the community.

Two other victims of the attack, Mr Vitalis Adam and Mr Friday Gboko, were, however, lucky as they escaped with gunshot wounds and are currently receiving treatment at the Obi General Hospital.

In an interview with our correspondent from his hospital bed, Adam said 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 resident of the area, who survived the attack but did not give his name, said the gunmen might have been on a mission to dispossess a community member of over N200,000 realised from the sale of farm produce earlier in the day.

He stated, “But the confusion is that if the attackers were on a mission to rob, why was it that they did not take away anything, including the money found in the pockets of some of their victims?

“I think the incident is a sign that another round of crisis between Tiv farmers and herders in the southern senatorial zone of the state is about to commence if care is not taken.”

The President, Nasarawa State chapter of the Tiv Youth Organisation, Peter Ahemba, confirmed the incident to journalists in Lafia.

He blamed those he referred to as enemies of peace of trying to cause another round of crisis in the state.

Ahemba stated that it was unfortunate that while the Governor Abdullahi Sule administration was working hard to ensure peace in the state, some selfish individuals were sabotaging his efforts.

He commended the prompt response of local government security operatives, traditional rulers and other stakeholders and urged Tiv youths to remain calm in the face of provocation.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ramhan Nansel, said the command had yet to be briefed on the incident as of the time of filing this report.

Copyright PUNCH.