At least six persons were feared dead in a fresh clashes between the Tiv and Hausa/Kabawa communities at Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
According to an eyewitness, the crisis which also left over 30 injured and several house burnt, was sparked off by an alleged attempt by some Tiv youths to apprehend an Hausa/Kabawa youth who allegedly assisted some Fulani mercenaries in a recent attack on Nzorov village.
“At the peak of the fighting between the Tiv natives and the Fulani herdsmen, we noticed that most of the Hausa/Kabawa people residing in Gbajimba took to their heels.
“Unfortunately, one of the Hausa youths was sighted fighting alongside the Fulanis at Nzorov and when peace returned to the community, members of the fleeing Hausa community made their way back to Gbajimba.
“Regrettably, some of the Tiv youths recognized one of the young men who fought alongside the Fulanis. He was accosted and an attempt by some Tiv youths to arrest him degenerated into a major conflict but the main suspect ran into the Gbajimba Police station for fear of being killed.
“The enraged youths, however, insisted that the Police must produce the suspect to allow them mete out jungle justice on him. At that point, there was tension in Gbjimba which led to a major conflict between the two tribes, leaving some six persons dead, close to 30 sustained serious injuries while houses and huts were also destroyed.
“Though we later heard that the suspect was moved from Gbajimba to the state Police Command Headquaters in Makurdi for safety and interrogation,” the eyewitness said.
Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Superintendent Daniel Ezeala confirmed the crisis, but said the Police were aware of only one death, adding that 27 suspects had been arrested while Police had also beefed up security in the troubled community.