John Adams, Minna
A land dispute between two communities in Lavun Local Government Area in Niger State has claimed eight lives while several others have been injured.
The communal clash broke out between Gaba and Anfani communities on Thursday evening over a disputed land. Eight persons from Gaba community were alleged to have lost their lives.
Two of the victims allegedly had their heads cut off while some had their two feet severed.
According sources closed to the two communities, the dispute was over a swath of farmland which the Gaba community claim they gave to their Anfani neigbours over 50 years ago.
Earlier dispute over the said land led to a legal tussle. A Bida High Court was said to have ruled in favour of the Gaba community, ordering the Anfani community to vacate the land.
Following the judgement of the court, the Gaba community was reported to have decided to send 11 of its people to the disputed land to undertake a survey. One of the men was a surveyor working with the state Ministry of Works.
According to an eyewitness the Gaba natives were reportedly waylaid and attacked by their Anfani neigbours.
The assailants were alleged to have assisted by some people from a neigbouring village in the attack, a development that enabled them to overpower the Gaba emissaries who were said to be unarmed while carrying out the survey duty.
However, it was gathered that the surveyor was spared after it was discovered that he was not a native of Gaba village. He was however, inflicted with injuries and had to be rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Bida.
Afraid of reprisal attacks, it was gathered that the entire Anfani community has been deserted with some of the villagers taking refuge at the Etsu Nupe’s palace in Bida.
As a result of the disturbance, it was learnt that the district head of Gaba, Alhaji Abdullahi Manko, who was posted to the Gaba community by the Etsu Nupe, was forced to flee to Bida.
The police on Friday recovered eight bodies from the troubled area and deposited them at the Bida General Hospital mortuary.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Niger State police command, Mr Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed the incident, disclosing that the police Area Commander in Bida led heavily-armed operatives to the area to restore peace.
Abubakar said no arrest had been made, assuring that investigations into the disturbance had commenced.