How Ombatse cult group killed over 55 policemen & 10 DSS in Nasarawa

Security leaders in Abuja were late Thursday scratching their heads, trying to make sense of how a militia group in Nasarawa State, the Ombatse, that built a fierce loyalty through blood oaths, killed over 55 police officers and 10 operatives of the Directorate of State Security.

Part of the puzzle was how the security officers were lured into a cruel ambush, dispossessed of their weapons, brutally murdered, and then burnt into cold ash.

“It is the most cold blooded act I have witnessed against the law enforcement community in my three decades in the force” a senior police officer in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State, told newsmen.

Other puzzles include who authorized the ill-fated operation in the first place, both at the police end, and at the Directorate of State Security end, which cost both institutions of the team leaders of the operation.

Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mbah, describing the event as an act of impunity in Abuja on Thursday, adds that “enough is enough,’’ promising also that the police will track down the killers, which robbed the institution of its operational chief in the state, Mohammed Momoh, an Assistant Commissioner of police who hails from Kogi State.

Force headquarters also repudiated earlier claims Thursday that the Nasarawa State Police Commissioner, Abayomi Akeremale, due for retirement at the end of the month, had been placed on suspension, and that the operational coordination of the crisis had been handed over to a deputy Inspector General of police from Abuja.

The DSS, on its part merely say it had deployed a search and rescue team to determine fatalities of its operatives on the assignment.

However, sources in Lafia disclosed that the Nasarawa state director of the Service has been recalled to Abuja and placed under “some preliminary punitive sanction while full investigations is apace,” evidence, according to the sources, that he might have over-reached his powers in ordering such a high level operation without the mandatory clearance and approval from Abuja.

Eight operatives and two drivers of the agency were reportedly killed in the operation, including the team leader, a mid career officer, thought to have been “obviously saddled with an assignment beyond his pay grade.”

Security sources said the state administration triggered the initial petition to the DSS and the police on the presumed nefarious role of the militia.

Based on the security report from the DSS, It was gathered that the police proceeded to build an armada of 13-truck load of men late Tuesday on a mission to Asakio village to disrupt a planned oath ceremony of the group, destroy the shrine, which houses the shrine of Ombatse cult, a deity of the Eggon people, and to arrest its spiritual leader.

Police sources and officials in the state administration, in Lafia, who sought anonymity told newsmen that just ten kilometers out of Lafia, what set out as a clandestine operation came upon an ambush, well laid out by the Eggon attackers, who took on the security convoy ultimately turning their mission into a monstrous killing field.

“This was planned as a clandestine operation for which resources in men and materials were mobilized from different units of the Lafia command, and for which almost none of the men in the convoy knew their destination. Now how it all ended so terribly, that the cultists would anticipate and wreck this kind of attack on security people speak volumes of either infiltration or mission betrayal” a distraught police officer told newsmen in Lafia.