By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
In a spate of forty eight hours, eleven soldiers, two Police men and a yet to be disclosed number of civilians have been killed and scores of others injured in pockets of confrontations between security personnel and villagers in Bosso council area of Niger state.
What has come to be regarded as the darkest week in Niger state, begun on the 4th of August with villagers in open confrontation with military men in Kpaidna village.
The orgy spread to surrounding villages of Legbe, Kopa, Lunku, Bambe and Dagba all in Bosso area of the state.
As at the last count, eleven soldiers were counted among the dead, dozen others are said to be villagers from the six affected communities.
Since then, arrest of the villagers has continued and the villagers have gone into hiding to avoid the dragnet.
Gbegnu Boknu Yakwo Association, an umbrella body of Gbagyi, (Gwari) worldwide, Niger State chapter has now wedded into the matter and is calling for truce and ceaze fire and further arrest.
The umbrella body of the Gbagyis in a statement issued Sunday, expressed their deepest condolences to the federal government over the killing of some military personnel during the clash with some villagers in the areas.
The body expressed its heartfelt condolence over the death of 11 soldiers and some policemen in the unfortunate incident just as it called on the authorities of the Nigeria Army to call its personnel to order to stop further harassment, arrest and detention of its members.
The statement signed by state Chairman, Mr. Danjuma S. Paiko prayed for the repose of the souls of all those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident of 4th and 5th August and for God to grant families of those they left behind the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“As fellow Nigerians, we are equally pained and are in grief over the loss of some soldiers, we stand unshakable in total solidarity with you in this period of mourning” Mr. Paiko added.
But the Gbagyis are worried and crying aloud. The association called on the federal government to intervene and save its members from further killings, arrest and detention by security operatives who are on manhunt for the villagers since the incidence broke out.
Paiko argued that Gbagyi people are known for their disposition to peace and harmonious coexistence with others but lamented the activities of the Fulani herdsmen who are architects of the crisis that needsto be checked, adding that the villagers acted in self defence to what they felt was an invasion of their villages by the Fulani herdsmen.
He insisted that the reaction of the villagers were not in any way to challenge constituted authorities.
“Gbagyi association remains subordinate to the sovereignty of Nigeria and all its organs, including law enforcement agencies. We humbly request the military authorities to take heart and allow justice to be done as two wrongs cannot make a right” the statement pleaded.
Though not absolving its members of any blame in the separate confrontations that brought deaths on both the Military and it’s member, the Gbegnu Boknu Yakwo Association said the bloodbath could have been avoided if not for the fear created by the frequent attacks by the Fulani herdsmen who have continually harassed and killed Gbagyi farmers in recent times.
While pleading that the military release their kinsmen in their custody, Gbegnu Boknu Yakwo Association called for investigation into the remote and immediate cause(s) of the clashes pledging that the Gbagyis are ready to abide by recommendations of the investigations.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Army says it remained committed to the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians anywhere and wherever they may find themselves, professional challenges notwithstanding.
Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade, GOC Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, stated this in Minna on Sunday during his one-day assessment visit to the troubled areas; Kpaidna, Legbe, Kopa, Lunku, Bambe and Dagma villages, all in Bosso Local government area of the state.
Oyebade told the families of the soldiers who lost their lives in active service as they gather to register their pains at TRADOC, Nigerian Army, Minna to see the death of their breadwinners as heroes who died trying to protect their fatherland, adding that Nigerian Army remain to fighting and protecting the territorial integrity of the country.
Bosso Crisis: Gbagyi umbrella body sues for peace, condoles with FG over death of Soldiers
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.