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Herdsmen, cultists kill 21 in Nasarawa, Cross River

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• We lost three officers – Police

From Linus Oota, Lafia and Judex Okoro, Calabar

No fewer than three operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police and eight farmers were reportedly killed by suspected Fulani herders in Mararaba Udege, Aisa and Aguma communities of Agatu chiefdon in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State yesterday. The incident was said to have led to the burning down of houses and food items, and the communities have been deserted.

Similarly, insecurity in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, has assumed a dangerous dimension as about 10 suspected cult members were killed in the metropolis in the last three days in a renewed clash allegedly between the Vikings and Axe confraternities.

Investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the security operatives said to be on their way to control the lingering crisis between the Agatu and Fulani herders were ambushed and killed by the herders.

The Nasarawa State police public relations officer, ASP Ismaila Usman, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent yesterday in Lafia, said: “There was conflict between the Agatus and Fulani herdsmen, where an Agatu man shot a Fulani man in the foot and went away with his motorcycle. The Fulani went on reprisal attack and the attention of the police was drawn to it. The police quickly swung into action to ensure normalcy returned to the area but, unfortunately, three of our men were ambushed and killed.”

He said that the command has deployed a team of policemen headed by an assistant commissioner of police to the area to maintain law and order.

He added that the bodies of the officers have been recovered and deposited at the morgue.
Also speaking to our correspondent, the paramount ruler of Agatu chiefdom, Alhaji Ahmed Kwanaki, said that about eight of his people were killed by the Fulani herdsmen. He gave the names of the casualties as Sale Ozala, Oyigoso Sale, Danladi Joko, Abdulahi Musa, Adamu Haruna, Musa Adamu, Yakubu Sale and Shehu Sabo (Bassa man).

Kwanaki, who was visible angry, lamented that killings in his domain have continued unabated. He appealed to government to urgently deploy military men to the area.

He said that the security operatives earlier drafted to the troubled area have been overpowered by the herders, stressing that they could not move to the interior where the killings are intense.

The state chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Hussain Mohammed, said that the Agatu people first killed some Fulani people before the Fulani went on reprisal.
He, however, condemned the killing of three police officers in the area and promised to help in fishing out the perpetrators of the criminal act.

Meanwhile, in Cross River State, communities have been grappling with insecurity ranging from kidnapping, robbery to cultism. The recent cult war is said to have started a week ago when the two contending groups clashed at a funeral, leading to the death of one of the gang leaders.

Sources said all efforts to reconcile the two rival groups failed, leading to more killings. Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that while three suspected cultists were gunned to death at Ekondo Street, Mayne Avenue and Wilkie Street all in Calabar South on Sunday, one Agbani was gruesomely murdered in the Ediba Qua axis of the metropolis same day.

It was learnt that, on Monday evening, there was a reprisal, as four other cultists were killed along Atekong Drive and Marian area in Calabar municipality.

A witness, John Okpo, said a tiler, identified as Big Emma, was also killed at Ediba Road by Okon Inok Street in Calabar municipality. Okpo said: “We were here this morning when a group of guys started chasing Emma (one of the victims) from up Ediba and they later caught him around Ediba by Okon Inok, where they mercilessly murdered the guy. Emma was a tiler.

“I wonder why he went and put his hands in such dirty act, following those that don’t have anything to offer. Just imagine how he wasted his life. It was after Emma was killed that the police arrived the scene, chasing some culprits and this left the market in disarray.”

At Obudu, it was also learnt that Ugar Uagogo, a staff of Obudu Local Government Area of the state, was butchered like an animal.

The state police spokesman, ASP Irene Ugbo, who confirmed the report, however, said only one person died.

“Actually, the clash between the two rival cult groups occurred and police are on top of the situation. But only one person was recorded dead,” she said.

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