The communal clash between the Ombatse and Alago tribes of Nasarawa state that began on Friday continued on Saturday, with the crisis extending to Obi local government main town and Assakio area of Lafia east.
The crisis, which started on Friday as a result of the resistance by Ombatse militia to the arrest of their member caught with weapons through a tipoff by Alago youths, has consumed the entire town of Assakio in Lafia east and part of Obi local government area as at the early hours of Saturday.
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.
The properties were reportedly touched by members of the Ombatse militia group. Two cars belonging to the PDP chieftain were also vandalized.
The youth spent the morning hours of Saturday attacking Obi village after which they proceeded to Assakio without any hinderance from security agencies as they spent close to three hours in both towns spraying petrol before starting fires.
Scores of dead bodies littered the town of Obi as residents remained afraid to evacuate bodies of victims for fear of been attacked.
Witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES the fully armed boys moved in a group chanting anti-police slogans, and then attacking anyone in sight.
They then bolted in motorcycles.
Another witness said he saw some boys arrested by the Army and taken away in an Hilux van.
“I saw a white HIlux pick with army drop some boys about twelve of them with one of the army shouting get down and follow the bush,” the source said.
The PDP zonal chairman told PREMIUM TIMES he had relocated his family to Keana local government area, few kilometers from the scene of the incident.
“I have relocated to Keana with my family before thinking of what next to do,” he said.
Already, no fewer than 30,000 persons, mostly women and children within and around the affected areas, have fled to other parts of the state and neighbouring Benue state for safety.
Spokesperson for the Nasarawa state command of the police, Cornelius Ocholi, wouldn’t comment for this story. When contacted on telephone, he simply said, “I am engaged with the commissioner of police now and would call you later”.
Meanwhile, the state government, in a state-wide broadcast yesterday condemned the incident, warning that government would not “stand by and watch these heartless criminals in our state unleash a reign of terror on innocent citizens of the state”
The state deputy governor, Damishi Luka, who made the broadcast on behalf of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, said government had taken adequate measures to bring the situation under control.
But despite the assurance, there was apprehension around the state that the militia groups were mobilizing to attack more settlements overnight !!!