By David Odama
Unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani militia Monday night invaded Abebe community in Keana Local Government of Nasarawa state, killing a religious leader and three others.
The gunmen, who were said to be armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded the community at about 10:pm, shot sporadically, forcing inhabitants of the community to scamper for safety.
One of the victims, Mr Augustine Avertse, church leader of Saint Augustine’s Catholic Church, Abebe, alongside his father, Pa Avertse Akaa’am were reportedly shot while trying to escape into a nearby bush.
Also killed on the spot were Uwongul John Akodi and one Monday, a visitor to the community, while Mr Vitalis Adam and Friday Gboko escaped with varying degrees of gunshot injuries and currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital Obi.
One of the survivals, Mr Vitalis Adam, who spoke to reporters on his hospital bed in Obi averred that the attack came as a surprise as there has never been any form of misunderstanding between members of the community and the Fulani herdsmen residing in the area.
Another survival, who narrowly escaped death asserted that the gunmen might have been on a mission to rub a member of the attacked community of the over N200,000.00 realised from the sales of some farm produce that took place in the afternoon of the fateful day.
“I think the incident is a sign that another round of crises between farmers and Fulani herders in the southern senatorial zone of the state is about to commence if care is not taken”
President of the Tiv Youth Organisation in Nasarawa state, Comrade Peter Ahemba, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Lafia, alleging that the unprovoked attack was a calculated attempt by enemies of peace and to cause another round of crisis.
According to him, it was unfortunate that, while Engr. Abdullahi Sule-led administration was working hard to ensure a peaceful Nasarawa state, some selfish individuals were working hard to sabotage government efforts.
The Youth President commended the prompt response of the authorities of Keana Local Government Council, security operatives in the area, traditional institution and other stakeholders, just as he called on the Tiv youths to remain calm in the face of the provocation.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO Nasarawa state command, Ramhan Nansel, said the command was yet to be briefed on the incident.