By Labaran Tijani, Lokoja.
No fewer than 6 people were killed and over 50 houses set ablaze by gunmen suspected to be sponsored militias of a rival group in a renewed hostility between Egbura -Mozum and Bassa-Komo ethnic group in kogi state.
In the latest twist in the on-going crisis, it was reported that houses and properties belonging to Egbura ethnic group in Sheria, Landu, Ankura and Oguma in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State were targeted and razed down.
According to the Vice chairman of Mozum Concern Youth Advocacy, Hamzat Mohammed who disclosed this in a statement the hoodlums invaded the communities on Christmas day, shooting sporadically, resulting in many people scampering for safety.
Hamzat who allegedly accused Bassa – Komo ethnic group of sponsoring the militia that carried out the attack on the said communities observed that the wild spread of burning and destruction that followed the invasion was effectively carried out in Oguma, the headquarters of Bassa local government, in-spite of government effort in bringing peace between the Egbura and Bassa Komo speaking tribes in the areas.
While lamenting that, the situation of recent have deteriorated, he bemoaned the action of the divisional police officer in the area who, according to him , gave unconvincing excuses for four days, as he refused to intervene when the hoodlums invaded Biroko village and burnt down the remaining houses in town.
“The Divisional Police Officer who could not effect any arrest claimed that only a few houses were burnt whereas over 50 houses belonging to Egburas were burnt down by the Bassa-Komo militias.
“Before now, the same DPO gave unconvincing excuses when the remaining houses in Biroko were burnt and destroyed for good four successive days. We are therefore worried that, this act could be accomplished unrestricted and in full glare of the DPO, been the chief security officer of the area and Aguma of Bassa-Komo who doubles as the chairman of Bassa traditional council without any arrest” he said.
while the chairman of Mozum Concern Youth Advocacy commended Governor Yahaya Bello for his effort to bring a lasting peace to the areas, particularly the setting up of the judiciary commission of enquiry on the crisis, he called for a full implementation of the said report; even as he urged the government to urgently come to their rescue and resettle the affected people in the community.
In a swift reaction, the chairman Bassa Cultural Development Union (BCDU) Samuel Nyizona, debunked the allegations, saying that several houses were burnt by suspected militia allegedly loyal to the Egbura’s in a village called Kede in Bassa- Kwomo district which led to the death of six people.
“As I speak to you, six people has been confirmed dead. This attack was carried out by the Egbura’s. We were surprised when some group in a military uniform stormed Bassa-Komo community to attack our people. They are not military men but dressed in a military uniform. Many are still missing as I speak to you. The allegation that houses were burnt by Bassa-Komo could be a reprisal attack” Nyizoma added.
He said two persons are currently receiving treatment in the hospital, as a result of the latest attack, calling on the government and security agencies to come to their aid as “the crisis between the communities has lingered for too long”.
Also, the Kogi state command Police Public Relation Officer, Asp William Aya could not be reached for poor networks service, when a call was put to him to confirm or give update of the latest attack in the areas.