At least 10 people have been killed in communal clashes in Wadata community of Wase, Plateau State, on Wednesday night.
Sources in the area said the violence, which involved the Tarok and Fulani people, erupted when the discovery of a decomposing corpse in a bush sparked reprisals that left nine more people dead.
Security authorities said they were yet to get full details yesterday because of the remoteness of the area where the incident occurred.
Daily Trust learnt that the violence came just three days after a peace meeting was convened by the Wase local government council towards peaceful co-existence between the Tarok and the Fulani, and that both sides agreed not to fight each other.
Secretary of the Plateau State chapter of Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Muhammad Nuru, told Daily Trust that his contacts in Wase informed him that nine men were attacked and killed on their way from Wadata market at a place called Dam 3, otherwise referred to as Dam Kurmi.
Nuru named some of the deceased as Alhaji Saidu Lopkang, Alhaji Inusa Abdulmalik and Alhaji Burti.
“The reason for the attack has not been established, but I am sure that with time, the whole truth will come out,” he said.
A resident of the area Muhammad Shuaibu Malam told the BBC Hausa that he saw nine people lying dead and eight of them had bullet wounds.
He said, “On our way back from the market we were told that some armed robbers blocked the way for robbery, and there was no other way we can divert to reach our town.
“So we found a place and waited until after the robbery…. After that, we proceeded and as we reached the place where the incident happened, we saw dead bodies…at the time we confirmed that eight of them were already dead; they were all shot.”
Chairman of Wase LGA Mohammed Zakari could not be reached for comments on the incident yesterday.
For his part, Police Commissioner Chris Olakpe said he had despatched his men to the area but was yet to confirm casualty figures.
Spokesman for the Special Task Force (STF), Capt. Mustapha Salisu, also said he was not yet in a position to confirm any casualties.
“I have heard that there was an incident around Wase but I have not found what exactly happened,” Mustapha told Daily Trust yesterday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted people in the community as saying they only woke up to discover the dead bodies of the victims with gunshot wounds yesterday.
“We were taken by surprise this morning when we woke up to discover that some of our people were silently attacked and killed by unknown gunmen,” a witness told NAN.
“What frightened us the most is the quiet manner the attackers carried out their act. The attackers also did not take anything from the houses of the victims.”
A security source told NAN that the Wase LGA had visited the scene of the attack along with Plateau South sector commander of the Special Task Force, Lt Col. Benjamin Olalo. Also on the chairman’s entourage was Mrs Naomi Isah, the Divisional Police Officer in Wase.
Police Public Relations Officer in Plateau, Abraham Ayomanor, also confirmed the incident.
“We are aware of the attack, but we have yet to get the full details and cannot be sure of the number of casualties,” he said, quoted by NAN.
Meanwhile, the STF has reported another attack at Aladura, a settlement in the Jos South Local Government.
According to STF spokesman Mustapha, the incident happened around 9 p.m. on Wednesday when some persons attacked three people and inflicted machete cuts on them.
The STF officer said that the attackers, suspected to be thieves, made away with a ram and N20,000.
“The victims have been admitted into a hospital in Jos, where they are receiving treatment,” he said.
Mustapha said three persons had been arrested in connection with the Aladura incident.