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Many Killed, Houses Razed As Communal Crisis Breaks Out In Kogi

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Many people were feared killed and several houses razed during a renewed Bassa-Igburra crisis in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State.

The two ethnic groups have been at loggerheads for a long time over fish ponds and land ownership.

But the intervention of Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration restored a relative peace in the last two years to the area.

The renewed hostility was said to have erupted on Monday, May 30, when two people believed to be of Bassa ethnic nationality were allegedly killed on a farm at Uga-Cheure near Oguma, the headquarters of the council and Korumu near Udogbo.

Daily Trust learnt that Bassa people believed the killing was masterminded by Igburra Mozum because of the existing hostility between the two ethnic groups.

It was gathered that the Bassa people reported the incident to the divisional police post at Oguma.

Before the dust could settle on the Monday killing, another two Bassa people were allegedly killed on a farm in Sheria and Korumu, near Odugbo on Thursday.

Like the Monday killing, attackers were also not identified.

According to Daily Trust a suspected reprisal, unidentified gunmen invaded Odugbo town, a predominantly settlement of Igbura-Mozum people on Friday morning, burning houses and killing locals.

The hostility continued in the early hours of Saturday June 4 with burning of houses by the gunmen.

According to a community leader in Bassa, Mr Keke Kaku, the police and the army stationed at Oguma swung into action to quell the crisis.

“By Saturday morning, both the police and a detachment of the army moved to Udogbo town to repel the invading gunmen,” he said.

However, he said that since the crisis started on Monday six Igbura-Mozum people had been killed by gunmen in the community.

Also, a source claimed that not less than 18 persons had lost their lives from both sides since the crisis erupted on Monday while properties worth millions of naira were burnt.

A member representing the Bassa Constituency at the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Ranyi Daniya, called on the people of Bassa to maintain peace.

The lawmaker urged security agents to leave no stone unturned in arresting the perpetrators of the act.

The Kogi State Police Command confirmed the incident, saying that the situation was already under control.

The state command’s Police Public Relations Officer, SP Williams Aya, said the military and police had been sent to the area to restore law and order.

The police authorities denied any casualty.

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