Twenty-three persons have been feared dead as suspected militia, believed to be herdsmen invaded Tawari Community in Kogi LGA, of Kogi State.
The Administrator of the local government, Hon. Musa Tanko Mohammed, however, confirmed that 19 persons died in the midnight invasion.
According to an eyewitness report, the attack is believed to be a reprisal by the militia who are suspected to be herdsmen.
Slim Xclusive also gathered that, the militia burnt down the palace of a third class chief, Alhaji Yusuf Idris alongside several other houses in the area.
The killing of four suspected herdsmen, alleged to be kidnappers along Lokoja Abuja federal highway recently by security agencies, following a tip-off by vigilantes from Tawari community, was alleged to be what angered the militia to attack the community.
According to the report, the herdsmen sometimes last year had one of them killed and his body mutilated by suspected ritualists. They pointed accusing fingers at the Tawari community and threatened a reprisal.
But following persistent persuasion by the community head, Alh. Yahaya Tawari, against a reprisal, the herdsmen lived in the community with their host in peace until few days ago when they started moving out en-mass.
While efforts was made to pacify them as to their reason for the mass movement, the herdsmen said their movement was a way of life, assuring that it had no ulterior motives.
But the killing of the herdsmen suspected to be kidnappers terrorising motorists along the Lokoja Abuja federal highway four days ago was said to have angered them, as they alleged that the misfortune of their colleagues killed as suspected kidnappers was made possible by information from the Tawari community, another reason for the reprisal in the wee hours of yesterday.
Eyewitness account put the dead at twenty-three, but the administrator, however, confirmed nineteen.
The Administrator described the incident as very unfortunate, assuring that efforts are on to return normalcy to the troubled community.
As at the time of filing this report, military personnel have been deployed to the community, while the Kogi State Commissioner of Police was on ground to monitor the situation and provide support.