By PETER DURU & Abel Daniel
LAFIA — Gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, yesterday, killed three people and burnt down several houses in some Tiv settlements in Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Personal Assistant to the state Commissioner for Community and Rural Development, Mr. Godwin Mbatsav, a Tiv, is among the dead.
Meanwhile, this bloody clash between Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen at Iyordye Akaahena and Akuroko villages in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, weekend, has left over 7,000 persons, most of them women and children, displaced.
Nine fresh bodies have also been recovered from parts of the affected communities, while scores have been declared missing by their respective families. This brings the number of casualties to about 54.
However, in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, eyewitnesses told Vanguard that the corpse of one of the victims, identified as James Orjime, had been deposited at Sandanji Hospital mortuary in Lafia.
The third victim was said to be one Mrs. Timbee Unzughul of Gidan Chiakaa of Jangaru ward in Awe Local Council.
Her step son, Christoper Unzughul, escaped with gunshot injuries and is reportedly receiving medical treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the state.
The commissioner’s late PA was said to have met his untimely death at Abuni village, while searching for his wife who was among those displaced when some of the gunmen invaded the area.
Security source told Vanguard that the invaders, dressed in military camouflage, were on their way to attack Iordye village in Guma Local government Area of Benue State, when they fired on the Tiv settlements they came across.
The source added that they burnt down the house of a former commissioner in the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission, NASIEC, Mr. Thomas Gaar in Jangangere ward, also in Awe Local Government Area.
Council boss reacts
When contacted on phone yesterday, Nasarawa State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Assistant Superintendent Cornelius Ocholi, denied any knowledge of the attack.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Guma council, Mr. Frank Adii, yesterday, lamented over the level of destruction of lives and property in the affected communities.
He added that many of those injured had been referred from the Guma General Hospital to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital for proper medical attention.
He said: “The situation on ground is bad, but we have been able to recover nine bodies from parts of the affected communities and they have been deposited at the Gbajimba General Hospital.
“The situation is bad. We have a serious refugee situation on our hands at the moment considering that over 7,000 persons have been displaced since this crisis started and we have been able to camp them at Gbajimba.
“We need help because this is beyond the scope of the state and local governments. Luckily, as I speak to you, soldiers have moved in to Gbajimba, the local government headquarters, and are already mobilising to move into the crisis areas to check further killing.”