About 20 people were feared dead at yesterday’s communal clash between Ebira and Bassa ethnic groups in Ugya, Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
A member of the vigilance group, Yahaya Toto, said Bassa people were seen leaving Ugya on Monday, apparently anticipating an attack.
He said: “On seeing that Bassa people were leaving, some of our people started moving out in panic, but we prevailed on them not to because no reason was offered by Bassa for deserting their ancestral home.”
Another vigilance leader, who pleaded for anonymity, alleged that Bassa employed mercenaries to attack Ebira on Tuesday, killing many and burning houses.
According to him, the mercenaries stormed the town with over 50 motorcycles and shot sporadically, forcing residents to flee to the bush; they were chased and killed.
He said: “As soon as soldiers arrived at the town, the mercenaries left, though one was captured.”
Police spokesman Kennedy Idirisu said the skirmish was a spill-over of the Kogi State attacks.
He said: “We received information about the crisis this morning, and our findings revealed that the situation is a spill over from the crisis in Kogi State.”
Idirisu said although the number of casualty could not be ascertained last night, the command would contain the situation.
According to him, the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, has directed officers from New Karu and Keffi Area commands to reinforce those on ground.