ABUJA, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of people were killed in a violence erupted weekend in Nigeria's central north state of Nasarawa, officials and residents said on Sunday, giving various accounts of the incident.
So far, five bodies had been recovered and identified by the police, said Umar Ismaila, state spokesperson for the law enforcement agency. He described the violence as a renewed communal crisis between Eggon and Gwandara people, two ethnic groups in Eggon local government area of the state.
"Normalcy had been restored in the area, following the prompt response of the police to a distress call. Investigation into the crisis has commenced and we urge residents to avoid taking laws into their hands," said Ismaila, while giving an account of the incident in Lafia, the state capital.
Residents, however, said about 40 casualties were recorded at the Igga Community of the northern state as the crisis, which broke out between the two ethnic groups on Friday, snowballed into Saturday.
Many properties were also destroyed as the violence, caused by a dispute over land ownership, snowballed into Saturday night, said Adams Waziri, a resident who witnessed the crisis.
"At least 40 people were killed. And this is because it was a very tough battle between the warring groups. In fact, we have lost count of injured people and hundreds of houses were also destroyed. It was a bloody violence," said Waziri, adding there was still palpable tension in the community early Sunday.
In another account of the incident, Musa Mairiga, spokesperson of the state governor, told reporters that 34 lifeless bodies had been counted.
The ethnic violence adds to the security challenges in Nasarawa State, where fighting between rebel groups, local herdsmen and natives or government forces has been frequently reported.
On Sept. 19, 2013, at least 31 people were killed in ethnic violence in the central north state, according to local officials. More than 1,300 houses were burnt during the crisis, also between Eggon and Alago ethnic tribes before it was quelled by security agents.