Colonel(rtd)Sambo Dasuki

Colonel(rtd)Sambo Dasuki, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser

Kano (Nigeria)
May 9, 2013

Gunmen from a shadowy cult ambushed a group of police officers in central Nigeria, killing 30 of them and then setting fire to their bodies, police and officials said today.

The Ombatse pagan movement, which
says it is committed to purging social
vices, has existed in Nasarawa state for
years but has grown increasingly
aggressive in recent months, including a
campaign of forced conversions targeting both Christians and Muslims, officials said.

“A detachment of 60 police…came under
attack from members of Ombatse cult in
an ambush,” Nasarawa state police chief Abayomi Akeremale said of the attack on Tuesday in the village of Elakyo, some 10 kilometres outside the state capital Lafia.

“The Ombatse gunmen opened fire on our men,” and set fire to those they killed, he told AFP, giving an initial toll of 23 dead and 17 missing. But the police chief’s spokesman, Michael Ada, later said that seven of the missing had been found dead. “I can confirm we have lost 30 men,” he told AFP.

Nasarawa roughly falls on the dividing
line between Nigeria’s mostly Christian
south and predominately Muslim north. One of the state’s major ethnic groups,
the Eggon, is divided between the two
faiths, but also has a history of links to
pagan movements.

Ombatse, which means “time has come”
in Eggon, has a significant presence,
although its strength has typically been
hard to estimate. The group has identified alcohol consumption and adultery as some of the sins it seeks to eliminate.

Nasarawa’s Commissioner for Information, Hamza Elayo, told AFP that
the authorities had no issue with
Ombatse until the movement’s aggressive turn. “Everybody has right to freedom of religion, but when people go about forcing their creed on others in a violent way it becomes unacceptable,” he said.

Elayo and the police chief said the
number of reported forced conversions
has surged in recent weeks, prompting
the security forces to move against a
self-proclaimed priest and others. “We decided to send our men to the area to arrest members of Ombatse including
their priest,” Akeremale said. “(They) have been going to churches and
mosques initiating people into their cult
by forcefully administering an allegiance
oath to unwilling people.”

Elayo said there were indications that
the movement’s change in conduct had
political motivations. The Eggon,according to Elayo, have been pushing for a member of their ethnic group to succeed the current state governor, Tanko Al-Makura, and certain Eggon leaders have reached out to the Ombatse to fight for their cause.

“It is obvious they are being sponsored
by some ambitious politicians…The
security agencies have been closing in on such politicians but I don’t want to
mention names,” he said.

Access to massive resources are at stake
in Nigerian state elections and several
have turned violent. Political and ethnic groups have also mobilised private militias to advance their agendas.

The male members of Ombatse are said
to dress only in black, while women are
reportedly barred from many of the
major ceremonies. Until recently, incidents of violence were limited. Last November, Ombatse gunmen were
reported to have shot dead three security personnel in a shootout with troops who stormed a shrine during an initiation ceremony.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. beegeagle says:

    Wickedness has taken hold of our land and the sanctity of life means nothing these days..ANYWHERE. Elsewhere, Fulani herdsmen are slashing and burning aggrieved persons across the land, even with their cattle trampling and grazing on people’s crops.

    Today, I read about a 25 year old bricklayer in SW Nigeria who slit his girlfriend’s throat and wait for it, had carnal knowledge of her as she bled to death. The intensity of wickedness is befuddling to say the least.

    RIP to the cops of MOPOL 38 Squadron.

    • igbi says:

      An other side effect of the Amnesty deal:
      Now people from every corner will be coming out to kill since they know that killing leads to Amnesty money. GEJ we warned you! We gave you all the reasons not to grant boko haram Amnesty, but you thought sultan knows best. I foresee millions of my people being killed because some people have decided to grab Amnesty for themselves. Visionless president!

  2. makanaky says:

    Wetin dey happen for Naija ? Na wetin be all this my people ? All ths dey tire me !

  3. tim says:

    Sigh, sad news everywhere…….jonathan should go back home 2015, asari, should be killed.

  4. Saints says:

    I nor go speak inglish for this one.. I swear to papa God say i dey fear.. Yes oh! My brothers i am scared out of my bones and i have good reasons for it.. I dont have to ask whats happening to naija anymore.cus d@ question nor get any answer. If 30 mopol men die(i ve seen this mopol men before and they are more fierce looking than a pair of hungry pittbull dogs..) then oh boy!.before things get out of hands. Lets do something oh.. The country is @ war and personally i hate that word.. Need i remind all of you here that i am a career diplomat and do not really thing GEJ should even be talking about any other thing right now other than the nations security. Cus outright dialogue would fail in everyway..

  5. Spirit says:

    O ya now, lets quickly bring out the almighty, cure-all, AMNESTY WAND.

    I wonder what contract their leader will be given……..


    Yeye people.

  6. Anas says:

    The killers shuld be granted unconditional amnesty and everybody wil be hapy

  7. originalpato says:

    Those Ombatse lads must sure have some impressive fire power to be able to overcome 60 policemen and kill 30 of them.

  8. Eeben says:

    This is a very sad but worrying report.
    Our condolences to those who lost loved ones and friends. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.

  9. Cryptologist says:

    This is a tragedy. My heart bleeds for the loss of these gallant law enforcement officers. The police command should look inward for the key in unravelling how their men were ambushed and killed. Until the government brings those who carry arms against the state to justice, i see no reprieve soon. So so sad.

  10. Henry says:

    See our country naah, life has no meaning again. We do not value life again. Over 120 people have been killed so far this week.

  11. duduboi says:

    Sad story. I have a friend who works in Lafia. She and all her colleagues in her office are rounding up work and preparing to flee the area before the police reinforce and return as they will surely do.

    But more worrisome is how 60 MOPOL offices (not regular policemen) could be overpowered with more than half KIA. I do not want to even begin to comprehend the massive firepower the cult must have brought to bear during the ambush.

    I also would not like to be in the vicinity when the police and/or the military descends on the place.

    R.I.P to the fallen gallant policemen.

    • ocelot2006 says:

      Keep in mind that it wasn’t just MOPOL officers affected, but also a number of DSS/SSS agents. This incident has got to be the worst in the history of the NPF and the Department of State Service.

  12. beegeagle says:

    PERSONALLY, I believe that this is a very violent manifestation of Eggon micronationalism. Most Eggon folk would tell you that they are the largest group in rural and agrarian Nasarawa State and believe that it amounts to travesty that none of their own has ruled over the state as governor. There is this urban-rural, christian:muslim, Hausa-Fulani:Eggon, aborigine:settler divide which appears to be getting accentuated in the politics of the state. It is not too different from the undercurrents at play in nextdoor Plateau State from which Nasarawa State was excised in 1996.

    In concrete terms, the rural-dwelling Eggon believe themselves to be indigenous people who have been traditionally undone in the race for Government House by the urban-dwelling and well connected Hausa-Fulani of the Keffi-Lafia axis.

    Now this flareup might have been brewing since 2007 when an ethnic Eggon politician, Solomon Ewuga, who decamped from the PDP after having served the Obasanjo regime as minister of state, contested the gubernatorial elections on the platform of the ANPP against a 1980s-era deputy governor of the pre-partition Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Doma.

    Ewuga , today a senator representing Nasarawa North on the platform of the CPC, was widely believed to have won the gubernatorial polls but the ‘favoured ‘Doma somehow managed to upstage Ewuga using ‘connections’

    At the time , there was an outbreak of post-election violence as disenchanted ANPP loyalists and Eggon folk took to the streets . The violence was quelled by the security forces but a chasm had opened up in the politics of the state . So Eggon hardliners and micronationalists apparently began to ‘organise ‘ and now, Ombatse has taken on a new meaning. Remember the traditional Egbesu cult of the Ijaw in the Niger Delta and how that fed into MEND as well?

    Now, my compatriots , this was precisely how political interests and/or the antics of desperate politicians gave rise to a plethora of groups ahead of the 2003 elections in the Niger Delta and in 2007 in the Northeast . We know how those ultimately fed a posse of malcontents into the broods which later became MEND and BH. We need to watch and ACT on this one closely before it spirals out of control.

    Let me add that the aerial surveillance of the many isolated precincts and large areas of hill tracts needs to be carried out without further delay. People may already have set up encampments , armouries and training facilities in the sanctuary of those many hills in inaccessible areas . The fact that Ombatse live like hermits makes this possibility all the more likely.

    “A stitch in time saves nine”

  13. Adinosway says:

    General Beeg,
    There is an interesting comment from Vanguard and also another one from Nairaland (both comment are actually from Nairaland which I will like to share here. It seems the Governor of Nasarawa State is trying to set up and demonise these Eggon sect:
    Jus take your time and check it out.

    Quote One
    ”Nigeria is doomed! I live and work in Lafia and I want to give u guys a full gist of what really happened.
    Everything boils down to 2015 gubernatorial race. The Egon people said they are tired of been ruled by foreigners (i.e migrants from Maiduguri) which the current governor Umaru Tanko Almakura and the emir of Lafia are and so they’ve started preparing for 2015 elections. The militia group actually recruited youths but they never did it forcefully, Egon youths voluntarily enlisted themselves because we never heard of such occurrence @ the church (Egons are predominantly Christians, say 98%). Sometimes, we see the militia group matching around Lafia peacefully with their black uniform not disturbing anyone or causing mayhem and even sometimes, we see their leader drive around his SUV robed with all sort of charms and we laughed.
    The governor got scared because of the growing strength of the militia and even attacked them severally through Fulani herdsmen, they even killed a Fulani herdsman close to my house early this year.
    The governor’s second shot was through the emir. He invited the chief priest to his palace and tried to charm him but the chief priest defeated him and it was even rumoured that the emir was dead that period. (RUMOUR)
    Discovering that he couldn’t succeed with his Fulani herdsmen and the emir strategy, he decided to use the police, SSS and civil defence guys through the commissioner of police, one silly Yoruba man that doesn’t know his job and really good at driving around Lafia with his dead BMW disturbing with siren sound. The commissioner fell for it and he sent his boys to arrest the chief priest of the militia. They claim to have gone there peacefully to arrest him, but ask why they went with machine guns. The killed some of the militia guys but the militia wiped them all, just about 6 of them escaped. I don’t think the militia group used guns because I went to the hospital where they deposited their remains (Dalahatu Specialist Hospital at Shendam road) and I saw deep cutlass cuts on them and I also saw stuffs like blue powder on them, they were burnt and were over 100 in number. Immediately this happened, the governor ran to Abuja and later ran to kano probably to meet with the emir. The commissioner cried all through but many don’t know why he cried. It’s because he’s to retire in 2 months’ time but now will likely face dismissal.
    The candidate egons want to put forward is Solomon Ewugha (not sure of the spelling)”


    QUOTE 2
    An insightful comment I picked from earlier today:

    ”I hail from Nasarawa State. Let me tell you the root cause of this. It’s all about 2015. Current Senator Solomon Ewuga (an Eggon man) won as the governor of the state against former governor Abdullahi Adamu in 1999 but it was manipulated in favor of Adamu. Solomon Ewuga again contested in 2007 but former Governor Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma was hand-picked by outgoing Governor Abdullahi Adamu. Now, Aliyu Akwe messed up the state, so the incubent Governor Tanko Almakura defeated him in his second-term bid with a massive support from the Eggon people under the agreement that 2015 will be Eggons’ turn. But Governor Almakura, nursing a desire for a second term, is not ready to honor the gentleman agreement. This has now given birth to the Eggon cult group called ‘Ambatse’, meaning; ‘ time has come’. That is, now it’s time for them to produce the governor by all means. So, they are initiating their tribal youths into the cult for violence against anyone (especially in 2015) who stands against their cause. Let me mention that the Eggons are predominantly christians and the minority muslims in the state want to continue to manipulate power in favor of the muslims. But this time around it will be very hard for the incubent governor because Mr Labaran Maku (Information Minister), Senator Solomon Ewuga (currently a senator) and two other House of Reps members in the National Assembly are all Eggons from the state, and one of them is nursing an ambition for the governorship. Wasn’t it curious that Mr Mohammed Momoh an Assistant Commissioner of Police who also lost his life led the operation? It’s unfortunate that these politicians sacrifice security agents against their will (other than they have to work for survival) for their selfish aims”

    Other Links

    Please General Beeg, publish this information so that most people will know more abou this Eggon Group ”Ombatse”

  14. Adinosway says:

    More links on Ombatse Group:

    It is clear they were formed to protect their people from fulani militias, it is a pity they were set up to commit this abominable act.

  15. beegeagle says:

    Well, we hit it first time yet again – indigene-settler, Eggon v Hausa Fulani, Christian v Muslim and the man they cannot ignore, Solomon Ewuga.

    🙂 That is why it is good to know your Nigeria, her salient issues and her undercurrents. Nasarawa State we know – Keffi, Lafia, Doma, Akwanga and Nasarawa-Toto. Stay with Beegeagle’s Blog. It is a PRECIS you get all the time.

    Welcome to the blog, Adinosway. You officially joined us yesterday and have made it a flying start – putting solid flesh on bare bones. Keep it up, buddy.

  16. beegeagle says:

    What these chaps are putting together here is, in effect, an ARMED ethnic rights agitation/resistance movement.

    Given the overlap of very similar issues in southern Kaduna and on the Jos Plateau both of which lie nextdoor, the FG need to be absolutely proactive on this matter lest we have a massive convergence of forces whose actions would ultimately touch off on another great divide: Christian v Muslim – and with that a nationwide conflagration is guaranteed.

    We say this because a militia which emerges in the Nasarawa-southern Kaduna-Plateau axis is going to be Christian-dominated. They are guaranteed to get involved in indigene-settler, farmer-herdsmen squabbles. That would suck in the Hausa-Fulani and it thus becomes a Christian-Muslim contest. As soon as it becomes a Christian v Muslim affair, falsehearted extremists such as ANSARU and BH shall cash in on the mayhem to kill some more and win over some converts to their dubious cause. BH already cashed in on that in Plateau State, infamously detonating IEDs on several occasions, purportedly in solidarity with the settler muslim community. The most devastating of those blasts, coincidentally the first major bomb attack by Boko Haram, occurred at Xmas 2010 and killed over seventy people in Jos.

    Therefore, the FG need to maintain 360-degree vision on this matter. Enough said. It is a very bloody and ominous template that is emerging here and it could be replicated in other multireligious and multicultural northern states such as Taraba and Adamawa, to the chagrin of all other Nigerians.

  17. This is getting hot. The polity is been heated up by unscroupolous politicians. The Security agencies should stop playing “My Oga at the top” and arrest any so called Oga found culpable. When the weak fail to get Justice from the Rich, they resort to violence to get it…and we know that violence begat violence…GEJ should step up the ante…He should tell these Politicians that its no longer business as usual….How can he do this??? he needs to make an example with one of these fat cats!!!

  18. ocelot2006 says:

    Well, I hope B-dept and Intelligence Bureau commanders at Louis Edet building along with the Anti-Terror Squad draw up a plan to rescue the missing officers and bring these cultists to justice.

  19. doziex says:

    As Beeg has said before, our mobile police should be equipped with GPMGs. So they stop getting over powered by these insurgents.

    This is what the Russians and other soviet states call interior ministry police/ troops. They should be trained and equipped like soldiers.

    Our TRADOC is changing too slowly, to kept up with the explosion internal crises in Nigeria.

    It’s time for us to think outside the box.

    Both the army and the Mopol should be equipped with MRAPs and helicopters. Mopol should have GPMGs and RPGs in their armory.

    The arrogance that has led to the under equipping the army or mopols, or even the police because they are engaging civilians has to stop.

    You got these so called civilians burning down police stations, and now attempting to overrun a tank battalion army base.

    Who wants to bet, that if they keep trying, and NA keep not improving their tactics and overall posture, that it is a matter of time before army barracks starts falling like police stations.

    Please, save your nationalistic/jingoistic energy here. It would be better used to implore our damn government to spend the money to powerfully equip all our troops.

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