Two persons have been killed during a masquerade festival that turned bloody in Panda, in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on Tuesday.
It was learnt that the crisis broke out between the Yeskwa and the Hausa ethnic groups when a masquerade was allegedly stoned by children suspected to be Hausa.
A source said the crisis happened because the masquerade had, in an attempt to stop the harassment by the children, threw a stone at them, which hit a Muslim cleric.
He said, “From investigation, I understood that the matter was reported to the paramount ruler of the area, Joel Oninge, but before he could convene a meeting between the warring tribes, some of the Hausa youths had moved down to the palace demanding to know why the masquerade stoned their chief Imam?
“They destroyed properties in the palace of the first class ruler and two persons were killed.”
Confirming the incident to our correspondent, the Chairman of Karu LGA, Samuel Akala, said the violence occurred in the early hours of Tuesday when a masquerade was allegedly stoned by some children.
He said, “Investigation indicated that the masquerade went after the boys who scampered for safety and in the process, the Imam was allegedly hit by the masquerade.
“It was quite unfortunate this happened at this period. I can confirm to you that two persons were killed and some shops destroyed; but with the deployment of the Army and the police, normalcy has since returned to the area and the people are going about their normal business.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, said two persons were killed during the clash, adding that the command was on the trail of the suspects.
Longe said, “We are going after those identified as masterminds of the crisis; they will be investigated and if found culpable, will be charged to court.
“They attacked themselves before the police got there. They did not inform the command that they were going to host a masquerade festival; otherwise, we would have provided them with security.”
He stated that the command had deployed its personnel in the community, noting that the Nigerian Army had also drafted soldiers to the area to prevent a breakdown of law and order.