Gunmen invade newborn naming party, kill 16, injure many

Gunmen on Sunday night, in Nasarawa state, during the naming ceremony of a newborn baby, attacked and opened fire in the latest violence between farmers and herders, killing no fewer than 16 persons, and injuring many others.

Police. while confirming the incident on Tuesday, said the incident happened in Nasarawa, a state curently wracked by long-running violence between settled farmers and semi-nomadic pastoralists who move about with their herds.

A resident who refused to reveal his identity said that those murdered included the parents and the infant.

According to Vanguard reports, the gunmen opened fire on guests as they celebrated with the family and their newborn baby in Numa village, in the Akwanga area of the state.

“The attack happened when some people were having a celebration at night,” state deputy police commissioner Umar Shehu Nadada told AFP. “The unidentified gunmen killed 16 people and injured 14 others.”

The reports had it that Numa is a farming village home to people from the Mada ethnic group, adding that they have been at loggerheads with Fulani herders.

Residents of this area have, however, accused the herders of the attack, saying the men turned up about three hours after dusk to join the party.

In the darkness, they opened fire into the crowd.

“We believe the attackers are Fulani…they pretended to have come to celebrate with the family,” said resident Emmanuel Kato.

“It was while the party was going on that they brought out their guns and started shooting the people, killing 16 and injuring many others.” they said.

The reports also confirmed that those killed included the couple and their newborn, as well as a pregnant woman.

Philip Gyunka, a senator at the National Assembly representing the area, said the attack was a fallout of a recent conflict between the Mada and Fulani.

Nasarawa state, like neighbouring Benue and Plateau, are part of the “middle-belt” states that divide Nigeria’s mainly-Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south. The region has seen deadly clashes between Fulani herders and farmers over land, grazing, and water rights for years.

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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Public Affairs Commentator and News Writer at InfoGuide Nigeria News.

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