Omala local government area of Kogi State has been turned to a battle ground following renewed clash between Agatu and Fulani warriors.
The clash led to the loss of over eighty lives on saturday. Among the dead was a pregnant woman, whose stomach was ripped off and the foetus mutilated.
Omala is the border local government between Kogi and Benue states; the Fulanis also have business partners, especially cattle marketers and breeders across the border in addition to the conducive vegetation for their cattle rearing.
Investigations revealed that with the intensity of the over two years of unabated conflicts between the two ethnic groups over farms and grazing land, some displaced Agatus residents sought refuge with their kith and kins at Bagana and its environs in Omala local government area of Kogi state.
According to the sources, some Fulanis too who were also displaced also ran to Bagana to also seek refuge.
It was gathered that Agatu youths on receiving information that some Fulanis had relocated to Bagana, a successful reprisal attack was organised to dislodge the Fulanis. The attack left several people dead, others injured, while hundreds of cows were killed by the assailants.
Weeks after the Agatu attack on Bagana market, the Fulani also invaded Bagana killing scores of people. They also burnt down the whole town sparring only the Hausa/ Fulani settlements.
It was at this point that government drafted in a combined force of Police, Navy, soldiers and other security agencies to maintain peace law and order. Inspite of the security operations in the area, the crises have persisted.
With Bagana residents rendered homeless, Abejikolo, headquarters of Omala local government area became the centre of internally displaced persons, IDPs, where the local and state governments have been rendering assistance in terns of shelter and feeding.
As the government was planning the return of the displaced persons to their original abode, renewed hostilities among the three communities started over the weekend.
The serial killings were carried out in the bush and on the farms.
A source disclosed that at Obakume village, a man was found dead in his farm, hacked by unknown persons, while at Abejikolo, mutilated bodies of a couple were found at their farm already decomposed.
It was also reported that three Fulani men were also found dead in the bush.
Angered by these strange series of killings, the youths in Abejikolo took to protest, carrying some corpses and marched straight to the palace of the paramount ruler of the area, the Ojogba of Ife, Chief Boniface Musa. They set the palace ablaze for his refusal to address them.
The traditional ruler could not come out because it is a taboo, according to Igala tradition for a monarch of his calibre to set his eye on a dead body.
Speaking to press men on the incidents, a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Dr Jorome Agi assured that the government was very much on top of the situation.