From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
No fewer than ten people were said to have been Killed in a renewed ethnic clash between Egbira Mozun and Bassa Kwomu in Bassa local government area of Kogi State.
The clash followed the return of the Egbiras who were displaced from their community in Biroko, during April last year hostilities between the Bassa Kwomu and Egbira Mozun.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that the timely intervention of elders from the area who moved for the return of the Egbiras to their ancestral home was aimed at paving way for lasting peace among the two ethnic groups.
However, when the Egbiras returned to Biroko on Wednesday some Bassa militia’s were alleged to have attacked them, insisting that it would be too risky to allow the people they forced out to return, considering the proximity between Biroko and Sheria, a major settlement of the Bassa Kwomu ethnic group.
The development, according to the source, led to renewed hostilities between the two ethnic groups, thereby forcing residents of the area to flee, so as not to be consumed in the crisis.
The source further disclosed that tension began to build in the area when Bassa Kwomu militia’s allegedly attempted to attack the Ohegba of Mozum and paramount ruler of the Egbiras, Alhaji Halidu Bukar Ali, when the royal father went to Oguma for a peace talks.
According to the source, the Ohegba, with the administrator of the local government, Mr. Sam Alumka and other government officials branched at the palace of Aguma of Bassa Kwomu, on their way to resettle the people of Biroko community.
The Bassa Kwomu militia’s, it was further gathered, locked the gate of the palace of Aguma, saying it was God that brought the Ohegba and some prominent Egbira leaders into their fold.
Worried that the life of Ohegba of Mozum and his people were under a serious threat, the security agents at the palace of Aguma, particularly the military threatened to open fire on who ever attempts to undermine peace in the area.
The source added that it was by sheer determination and bravely displayed by the military that enabled the Ohegba and some Egbira leaders to escape from the palace of the Aguma of Bassa Kwomu at Oguma.
The traditional ruler therefore, appealed to the state government to take decisive steps to tackle the matter before it gets out of hand, maintaining that the local government is presently in disarray, as thousands of residents have fled for fear of being caught in cross fire.
He disclosed that hundreds of people in the area are currently taking refuge in neighbouring villages in Dekina local government so as to escape from the crisis, even as he confirmed that many lives might have been lost in the renewed hostilities.
Confirming the crisis, the Police Public Relations Officer, Williams Aya said that Kogi Police Command has since despatched police security personnels to tackle the problem so as to ensure that peace and order is restored in the affected communities.
Latest reports indicate that one person died at an early hour train derailment on Thursday at Ashade railway crossing Agege, Lagos.