By; ADAMA JOHN, Lokoja
Some yet-to-be-identified gunmen who beheaded a middle-aged man, Daddy Noah after abducting him from his village, Patanyi, a riverine village in Bagana Ward of Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State have dumped the body in the River Benue.
The incident happened when Noah, in the company of his friends on a hunting expedition was stormed by gunmen in the forest and abducted him, while his other friends escaped.
According to locals, the deceased was one of the people defending his clan, Ihiankpe against the Otutubatu clan, who have been up in arms against each other over the control of the Bagana Community in Omala LGA.
It was gathered that the crises which started off as Fulani herders and Agatu in Benue State snowballed into ethnic and clan cleansing which started over a decade ago.
Other eyewitness account said that the deceased was killed on the fateful day when the suspected bandits in their numbers stormed Patanyi town shooting sporadically, as the villagers scampered for safety.
The militia came through, Bagana and Ogba route before arriving at Patanyi to carry out the dastardly act.
The villagers then mobilised themselves into a search party who later discovered the mutilated corpse floating at the bank of River Benue at Bagana, the epicentre of the lingering communal war that has taken the lives of hundreds of lives and burned down properties.
Regrettably, the deceased had lost his father, Noah Akoja, his elder brother, and an uncle, Alih, to the crisis, even as their family houses in Bagana were burnt to ashes.
“As I’m talking to you, no member of the Ihiankpe clan is having his or her house standing in Bagana. They have all been burnt down by the suspected militias allegedly helping the Otututubatu clan to prosecute the war.
“This latest onslaught against our clan is coming on the heels of the final phase of the fact-finding engagement with the communities, by the peace committee set up by His Royal Majesty Ata’Igala Matthew Opaluwa Oguche-Akpa.
“This killing has taken us back in the peace-building process,” he explained, while recounting the ordeal amid tears.
It would be recalled that Bagana, a commercial nerve centre of Omala LGA and 15km north of Abejukolo, headquarters of the council, has been engrossed in carnage since 2013, defying all efforts by the state government to restore normalcy to the embattled community.
The paramount ruler of Omala LGA, HRH Boniface Musa, the Ojogba of Ife, while contacted, condemned the killing, saying it is one too many for the people of the communities.
He called on the state and federal governments as well as security agencies to come to their aid to permanently end the crisis.
The Royal father while lamenting the socio-economic hardship the crisis has posed on Bagana communities, said it has become unbearable for the entire local government area to bear the burden of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled their homes.
At the time of filling this report, the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) SP William Aya did not pick up his calls and several text messages sent to him were not returned.