9 children between the ages of 2 and 10 were said to have drowned in Guyaka River of Ughah in Assakio area of Lafia local government council of Nasarawa state in a bid to escape the communal clashes between Eggon youths and Fulani herdsmen.
Abdullahi Akye Magaji, the paramount ruler of Ugah, while confirming the incident, said the 9 children were in a party of 13 who were attempting to cross the river in a bid to escape the violence.
Magaji explained that they were able to rescue 4 children while the bodies of the other 9 were yet to be seen.
Premium Times reports:
He said a decision was taken by the community to ferry the children across the river to save them from any eventuality as fighting raged.
“We decided to use the boat to ferry the children out of the community after trekking for over 21 kilometre into the night,” Mr. Magaji said.
“Unfortunately, the boat capsized and nine out of the 13 children drowned while four were rescued and none of the corpses of the drowned children have been recovered yet.
“I have reported the incidence to the government and equally requested them to help the survivors to Lafia, the state capital.”
The community leader added about five communities, including the headquarters of his chiefdom, Ugah, had been completely destroyed. The other communities he said were razed are Mankwar, Gallo, Shimeer, Umbwal,Alingani,
Mr. Magaji said the people of those communities were now taking refuge in Namu area of Shendam local government area of Plateau state.
He added that the people of Guyaka, the only remaining community that was only partly torched, had also relocated to Lafia, for fear of the unknown.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer ( PPRO ) Umar Numan, said he is not aware of the incident but that he would revert whenever information on the matter become available.
Serious fighting had broken out between the Fulani and Eggon in the Tudun Adabu area of Obi local government of Nasarawa State on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
According to the police, most houses in the areas were set ablaze while the towns were deserted.
The fighting is a spill-over of the killings that occurred between Monday, August 25, 2014 and Tuesday, august 26, 2014 around Assakio in Lafia local government and Bakyano in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government Area.
About 20 houses were burnt in Assakio on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 while the resident of the paramount ruler, Osula Inarigu, was vandalised.
As tension enveloped the state for fear of reprisal attacks across communities where Fulanis and Eggons reside, the state police spokesperson, Ismaila Numan, confirmed the incident, but said information available to the police was still sketchy especially as it concerns casualty figures.
Mr. Numan however also said the town of Assakio, a few kilometres outside Lafia, had been deserted.
“Houses around the chief’s house have been set ablaze while the chief’s house was vandalised. We didn’t recover any corpse yet but the town has been deserted. The town is just like a ghost town,” he said.
At a press briefing Wednesday, the senior special assistant on public affairs to the Nasarawa State governor, Abdulhamid Kwarra, disclosed that communities in Akwanga, Nasarawa Eggon , Lafia, Obi and Wamba local government areas were enmeshed in crisis.
“The state has again been engulfed in security challenges in the past seventy two hours, which has led to some fatalities, and at the same time, displaced some persons,” he said.