Four persons have been killed while two others sustained various degrees of injuries by gunmen suspected to be bandits at Ofeapo, along Idrisu-Bagana Road in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The victims who were returning from the crisis-ridden Bagana market around 8:30 pm on Thursday were ambushed and killed by suspected bandits.
The victims, who were mainly traders, were travelling in a tricycle popularly called Keke Napep, when gunmen opened fire on them at close range, killing four on the spot, while two others sustained injuries.
The spokesperson of the Kogi State Police Command, SP. William Aya, while confirming the incident, however, said one person, the tricycle rider, was killed while two others sustained injuries and were rushed to medical facilities in Abejukolo, headquarters of Omala LGA.
He said the Commissioner of Police, CP Edward Egbuka, has mobilised a tactical squad and officers of the division to the scene to possibly fish out the perpetrators.
This is just as the paramount ruler of Omala Local Government Area Traditional Council, HRH Boniface Musa, the Ojogba of Ife, condemned the dastardly act and prayed to God to give the family of the victims fortitude to bear the loss.
He decried the incessant attacks on the Bagana people by unknown gunmen, lamenting that the killing has taken the peace process back at a time when all hands have been on deck for the safe return of the Internally displaced persons, IDPs, to their homes.
He appealed to the state Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello to, as a matter of urgency, wade into the lingering Bagana crisis that has killed tens of people and rendered many homeless.
While urging him to implement the recommendations of the Col. Suleiman Babanawa (rtd.)-led committee, he called for the deployment of the security agencies to Bagana town to forestall further bloodshed in the communities.
According to the locals, those who were killed are two males and two females who are natives of Bagana but had to relocate to Abejukolo in the wake of the killings in the communities.
The locals lamented the killings, saying it is one too many for a community that has been under siege for more than a decade.
The inhabitants, while speaking to our correspondent amid sobbing, decried the barbaric actions of the assailants who shot and killed Mrs. Zainabu Abdullahi in front of her six-month-old baby and chopped off the head of another victim.
They called on Governor Bello to take over the security architecture in the community as efforts by his officials in the local government have been unable to stop the carnage.
Recall that the Attah Igala, HRM Matthew Alaji Opaluwa, had given directives to the belligerents to lay down their arms and embrace peace or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
However, with the assurances of his Royal Majesty of the workable peace process, submission of the committee reports in the past weeks, and the assurance by the Chairman of the Council, Ibrahim Aboh, to guarantee security for the people, the market was opened before the ugly incident.