Jos, Awka, Kaduna, Makurdi and Maiduguri — No fewer than eight persons were on Sunday night shot dead by unknown gunmen at a relaxation spot in Nding community of Fan District, Barkin Ladi council area of Plateau State.
A resident, who simply identified himself as Williams, told journalists that eight persons were killed when the gunmen struck. He said the assailants stormed the village around 8p.m. and opened fire on the people.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mathias Terna Tyopev, who confirmed the incident, however said five persons were killed while the injured are receiving treatment at the Plateau Specialist Hospital in Jos. He added that investigation had begun to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The member representing Barkin Ladi constituency in the State House of Assembly, Peter Ibrahim Gyendeng, said he was on an assessment tour when contacted.
Also the representative of the area at the National Assembly, Istifanus Gyang, has condemned the attack, describing the killings as inhuman, wicked, irrational and ungodly.
In a statement in Jos, he said the attacks bore the signs of ethnic cleansing.
The spokesman of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major Adam Umar, who further confirmed the incident, said the attackers had fled the scene when his men arrived. He appealed for timely provision of information to check activities of criminal elements in the society.
In a related development, suspected herdsmen at the weekend allegedly raped and murdered a middle-aged woman in her farmland at Nteje, Oyi Local Council of Anambra State.
The Guardian learnt that the death of the widow had provoked a series of meetings geared at preventing a reprisal by the irate youths in the community.
The traditional ruler in the settlement, Igwe Rowland Odegbo, in a telephone interview, confirmed the development but refused to disclose her identify but, however, added that she was from a neighbouring village.
He said: “The picture of the deceased has been taken and passed round the community, and no one could identify her as one of their own.
“The incident happened in a land belonging to our neighbours, Umuleri. That was where she was found, so we suspect that she may be from Umuleri or even Aguleri. The matter has already been lodged at Otuocha police division.”
The spokesperson for the State Police Command, Princess Nkeiru Nwode, said the incident had nothing to do with herdsmen.
Also in Kaduna, armed bandits yesterday invaded Birnin Gwari council area, shooting sporadically and injuring scores in the process.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Mukthar Aliyu, could not confirm the casualty figure.
However, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has condemned the attack on passengers by hoodlums near Yelwata, along Lafia-Makurdi highway. He commended the police for swiftly arresting some of the suspects.
Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Uzoma Nzeagwu, Saxone Akhaine, Joseph Wantu, Njadvara Musa