No fewer than ten persons were reportedly killed on Wednesday in renewed hostilities between Ebira and Bassa-Komu ethnic tribes in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Scores of others were said to have sustained injuries following the return of the displaced Ebira people in the crisis which started in April last year.
The Kogi State Police Command Public Relation Officer (PPRO) William Aya confirmed the development on Thursday in Lokoja, saying that the situation was under control.
He said two people lost their lives in the renewed fighting between the two warring ethnic tribes who have been at dagger drawn for months.
Aya added a team of mobile policemen, conventional policemen and soldiers were on ground to forestall further clashes.
“Two people were killed; one yesterday, and the second, today. Calm has returned in the affected areas.
“The CP in-charge of operation, mobile police, conventional police, area commanders and the Army are already there to restore law and order as soon as possible,” he said
It was gathered following intervention of elders from the area, the Ebira- speaking people, who left their homes as a result of the crisis, were asked to return home by government, to pave way for lasting peace among the two ethnic groups.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the displaced Ebira who were accompanied by the security operatives and some political appointees, including the Bassa local government administrator, Sam Alumka and others returned to Oguma, the headquarters of Bassa LG on Wednesday, from where they were expected go to their various villages and communities.
It was alleged remarks by the paramount ruler of Bassa-Komu ethnic group, the Aguma of Bassa, William Keke sparked the latest round of crisis.
He was reported to have said the returning Ebira people should go back to Lokoja or to where they have been staying.
A source said the Ohiogba of Mozum, Alhaji Halidu Bukar Ali and other Ebira leaders who were at Aguma of Bassa’s palace to receive the returnees were almost ambushed by hooligans/militia from one of the warring groups.
But security operatives reportedly brought the situation under control.
It was gathered that the news of the escape from an ambush by the Ohiogba of Mozum and the Ebira leaders from Aguma palace and the said “unguarded statement,” spread to various communities, resulting in the latest escalation of hostilities.
Over ten people were said to have lost their lives in some of the affected communities in the ensuing crisis.
It was reported two residents of Mozum, Kagiwa Hussain and Aminu Usman returning from Oguma, were allegedly killed by hooligans in military uniforms.
As at the time of filing this report, hostility was said to have relapsed in Ibiroko, Oguma, Sheria, Auta and Ojugbe communities.