Heavily armed herdsmen on Saturday invaded and razed Miza community in Kupaland, Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State, destroying homes and other buildings, multiple sources have confirmed.
The attacks were allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen, who accused members of the community of killing their cows.
However, there were no reports of casualties as the attack occurred after residents had fled, the police said.
The attack also came on the heels of a peace meeting convened by the state police command between leaders of Miza and Fulani communities.
An indigene of Miza, who pleaded not to be named for fear of his life, lamented that the attack on the community came as a shock to the people of Kupaland, who he said had co-existed peacefully with the Fulanis for decades.
He said many residents have now fled to Lokoja, Minna and other neighbouring areas.
“We are surprised at the recent attack on our community because it came hours after we had a meeting at the Police headquarters in Lokoja”, the source said.
“The Police had appealed to representatives of Kupa and Fulani communities to stop all forms of hostilities and allow peace to prevail in the area. Hours after the peace meeting, the herdsmen struck and ravaged our community”.
According to the source, those who had taken refuge in neighbouring communities, called to say that over 1,000 armed Fulani herdsmen were heading towards Miza.
Not willing to confront the herdsmen, the people withdrew and the herdsmen set fire on the community, the resident told PREMIUM TIMES.
A local journalist also said Miza had come under attack by suspected herdsmen earlier in the week.
According to him, local vigilante repelled the attack and killed five of the suspected herdsmen while the others fled.
“Earlier in the week, some Fulani herdsmen had attacked Miza but the vigilante in the community repelled and killed five of them”, said the journalist.
“However, one person from Miza and another from Gbeduma community lost their lives during the fighting”, he added.
The Kogi State Police Commissioner, Paul Okafor, who also confirmed that Fulani herdsmen attacked Miza, said the command had moved in to contain further hostilities in the area.
He said, “There was an attack this morning but there was no casualty recorded. There was an earlier incident where the Fulanis alleged that the Miza people killed their cows and they went and attacked them.
“There has been crisis in the area and we have been trying to resolve the situation. We held a meeting with them yesterday and today (Saturday) we did the same thing”.
Asked whether any arrests had been made, the CP said the nature of the attack, which he described as guerilla style, made it impossible for the command to effect arrest.