Nigeria sends troops to fight ethnic militia

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Nigeria’s Federal Government on Wednesday ordered immediate troops’ deployment to North Central State of Nasarawa where clashes between members of the dreaded Ombatse ethic militia has resulted in the loss of scores of lives, displacement of hundreds of others while many houses also burnt down in the violence.

The Ombtase militia is loyal to the Eggon, one of the major ethnic groups in Nassarawa State.

The militia has been involved in inter-ethnic clashes that have claimed hundreds of lives across different communities in Nassarawa State in the past few years.

About 70 policemen and 10 officers of State Security Services, SSS were killed during a failed bid to arrest leaders of Ombatse cult in Alakyo village, about 10 kilometers to Lafia, the capital of Nassarawa State early in the year.

•Gov. Al-Makura: Worried about Ombatse’s activities
•Gov. Al-Makura: Worried about Ombatse’s activities

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Police and troops on ground in the State have been struggling to contain the latest clash between the militia and youths in Alago youths in Obi Local Government Area which began last weekend.

The deployment of troops announced today means more soldiers will be deployed to quench the violence.

“Due to the heightened security situation in Nasarawa State, the Federal Government has ordered the deployment of Nigerian Army troops in order to prevent further escalation of the violence and its spread to other parts of the state. Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru, Director of Army Public Relations, said while announcing the deployment at a briefing on Wednesday.

He said the troops would be deployed from a battalion of the Nigerian Army.
“It is gratifying to note that the deployment of Nigerian Army troops in the violence prone area has helped in curbing the spread of violence by the Ombatse and other ethnic militia groups in Nasarawa State.
“The Federal Government and the Nasarawa State government are exploring other ways of ensuring quick return to normalcy,” Gen. Attahiru stated.
Brigadier Attahiru also told journalists that nine officers and men are currently being tried in a General Court Martial for offenses ranging from murder, manslaughter, issuing threats and use of abusive or provocative language among other offences.

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