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Crisis: Nasarawa state Death toll risesto 40

Posted By : J Rock on Friday, 7 June 2013 | 10:19

Fresh facts emerging from Nasarawa state, the scene of a violent clash between Agatu tribesmen and Tiv militias, indicate that over 40 people might have lost their lives as a result of the skirmishes. Some 15 houses, seven cars and several motorcycles were also burnt.
 Mustapha Danladi Ayaga, an information officer of Ekye development area, told journalists on the entourage of Hon. Dameshi Barau Luka, the state’s deputy governor who paid a condolence and assessment visit to the trouble spot yesterday, narrated that on the 4th of June, allegedly over 500 Tiv militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, including AK 47 and SMGs, launched a surprise attack on Rukubi, shooting and killing defenseless residents, confirming that at the last count, 35 dead bodies were recovered.
 Luka, who arrived Rukubi in company of the traditional ruler of the area, Musa Abari, the Osapa of Akpanaja, condoled the people, urging them to remain calm while government is looking into the matter with a view to addressing the situation.
 After taking an assessment tour of the area, the deputy governor visited the management of the Olam Rice Farm, where he had a closed door session with officials of the company before leaving for Doma, to visit the displaced persons camp at the Doma Central Pilot School.
 Danladi Ayaga also confirmed that the attackers, dressed in mobile police uniforms, were mostly Tivs from the neighboring Benue state, allegedly from Daudu, Makurdi and Gboko areas, who were hired to destroy the area, particularly, the Olam Rice Farm, a private concern said to be the largest rice farm in African.
 While describing as a fallacy the claim that the Agatu were harboring Fulani herdsmen i n Rukubi, the information officer disclosed that prior to the attack, residents were on two occasions warned by the Tivs to send the Fulanis residing in the area packing or risk an attack.
 “Rukubi is an area that accommodates a lot of people, there are seven different tribes residing here. We don’t have the right to send anybody packing. The people that come for this attack are from Benue state, we still have Tivs living among us in Idadu and other places. They are focusing on this company but youth in the area reinforced and protected the company,” Ayaga added.
 When our reporter toured the town, Rukubi, a small fishing community on a tributary of River Benue, was a ghost town, with only the youth and elderly seen in clusters as they contemplate their fate.
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