Linus Oota, Lafia
No fewer than three police officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and eight farmers were reportedly killed in the Mararaba Udege, Aisa and Aguma communities of Agatu chiefdom, Nasarawa by suspected Fulani herders.
In addition tot he killings, houses and food supplies were reportedly burned, with entire communities deserted.
Investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the murdered security operatives, who were on a mission to control the escalating conflict between Agatu and Fulani herders, were ambushed by the Fulani herders.
Police Public Relation Officer ASP Ismaila Usman of the Nasarawa State Command, who confirmed the incident to Daily Sun in Lafia, said: “There was conflict between the Agatus and Fulani herdsmen, where an Agatu man shot a Fulani man on foot and went away with his motorcycle.”
According to him: “The Fulanis also went on reprisal attack. The attention of the police was drawn and the police quickly swung into action to ensure normalcy returned to the area. But, unfortunately, three of our men were ambushed and killed.”
The police spokesman said that the Command has deployed a team of officers headed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police to the area to maintain law and order.
The corpse of the deceased officers have been recovered and deposited in the morgue, he added.
Also speaking to Daily Sun, the paramount ruler of Agatu chiefdom, Alhaji Ahmed Kwanaki, said that about eight of his people were killed by the same Fulani herdsmen.
He gave the names of those killed as: Sale Ozala, Oyigoso Sale, Danladi Joko, Abdulahi Musa, Adamu Haruna, Musa Adamu, Yakubu Sale, and Shehu Sabo (a Bassa man).
The traditional chief, who was visibly angry, said the killings in his chiefdom continues unabated, and appealed to the state and federal governments to, as a matter of urgency, deploy the military to the area.
He confirmed that the security operatives earlier detailed to the troubled area were overpowered by the Fulani herdsmen, preventing them from accessing the interior where killings are rife.
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 retaliated.
He, however, condemned the killings of the three police officers, promising to help in identifying the perpetrators of the murders.