No fewer than 38 residents of Takalafia and Gwanja communities in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State have been reportedly killed by herdsmen who stormed the area on Thursday night.
The Pastor-in-charge of the Evangelical Church Winning All in the area, Rev. Daniel Danbeki, and 37 others were gruesomely murdered by the assailants during the attack which lasted from 9pm on Thursday night till the early hours of Friday.
However, a mass burial was held on Saturday, for the victims of the attack which include women and children.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Emmanuel Akabe, led a government delegation to the mass burial, which was conducted amid tears.
Speaking during the mass burial, Akabe condemned the wanton killings and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
He expressed shock over the killings, and pledged that the state government would investigate the cause of the attacks and bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book, adding that relief materials would be provided for displaced people in the area.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of Karu LGA, James Thomas, who visited the attacked communities before the mass burial, condemned the attack by the herdsmen.
Thomas, who was represented by his deputy, Lawal Karshi, however, appealed for calm and vowed to work closely with the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the act in order for them to face the full wrath of the law.
A source told our correspondent that the attack was as a result of a disagreement between a farmer and a herdsman who took his cows to graze on a groundnut and maize farm.
“The cows completely ate the crops which angered the farmer, leading to a fierce battle between him and the herdsman.
“As the farmer was talking to the herdsman to send his cows out of his farm, a fierce disagreement ensued and the herdsman brought out his cutlass and started fighting the farmer; but the farmer overpowered him, snatched his cutlass and fought him back, and the herdsman died.
“This was what led to the killings of residents of this area by the herdsmen,” the source said.
As of the time of filing this report, dead bodies of victims who escaped with bullet wounds during the attack in Takalafia and Gwanja communities are still being recovered from bushes in the area, and are taken to the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi LGA of the state.
Efforts made to reach the Nasarawa State police command to get its reaction on the incident through the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ramhan Nansel, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls put across to his mobile lines.
Reacting to the incident in a statement on Sunday, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Ramhan Nansel, assured that the command was working assiduously to arrest and prosecute those involved in the dastardly act.
“The Commissioner of Police,Maiyaki Baba, deployed police operatives comprising mobile police personnel, counter-terrorism unit, and the military to the area where 14 corpses were recovered and taken to the hospital and subsequently buried.”