It was a bloody Tuesday evening in Alakyo village of Lafia East Development Area of Nasarawa State as over 90 people were reportedly feared dead in a gun duel involving security operatives and members of the Eggon militia group, Ombatse.
The operatives had been deployed there to effect the arrest of the leader of the group, Baba Alakyo, and recover arms said to be in his possession.
To underscore the severity of the gun duel, of the 11 trucks of security men deployed to the area, only two returned safely to the capital with only 20 policemen; nine of whom sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds. An assistant commissioner of police, Momoh, who led the team; some officers of the State Security Service (SSS) and about 15 Civil Defence Corps officers were among those killed.
The incident occurred when the militiamen, who got wind of the impending arrest of their leader, Alakyo, by mobile police officers, ambushed the truck conveying the officers by dusk; forcing a retreat.
Commissioner of Police Abayomi Akeremale while confirming the incident said the decision to put an end to the activities of the militia group was taken at a state security meeting.
“We decided at the state security council meeting, because of the frequent attacks on churches and mosques by this particular group, who are forcing people to swear an oath at the shrine, that we carry out an operation and arrest the perpetrators for prosecution lest it turns into a religious crisis,” he said. “The people, some call them Ombatse, but they call themselves cultural people, ambushed our men and opened fire,” he added.