Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Suspected Herdsmen Kill 100 in Taraba, Plateau States

About 100 persons have been killed in separate attacks in Taraba and Plateau states by gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

A pastor with the Church of Christ in Nigeria, COCIN, Luka Gwom, and a young lady identified as Paulina were among the dead. While 70 persons were killed in Karim Lamido and Takum local government areas of Taraba State, 30, including Gwom and Paulina were gunned down in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

National Mirror gathered that 27 people were killed in Karim-Lamido Local Government Area, following a reprisal by the military.

Suspected Fulani gunmen, two days ago, ambushed and killed six soldiers while three were said to be missing when the gunmen attacked the soldiers between Amar and Kambari villages of Karim Lamido Local Government Area.

The soldiers were said to be on a routine patrol of the area when they were ambushed and killed. Three of the missing soldiers were also found dead by the military when they combed the area in search of them.

In Takum Local Government, 21 persons were hunted and killed yesterday by suspected Kuteb youths who were said to be on a revenge mission over the dead of 13 of their people who were killed along Takum-Katsina- Ala road and Takum-Kashinbilla road between Friday and Saturday by unknown gunmen.

National Mirror gathered that while the soldiers were on search of their missing colleagues in Karim Lamido, suspected gunmen open fire on them and the military replied, leaving over 27 people dead, including children and women.

Chairman of Karim Lamido Local Government Council, Bobboi Bello Bendu, could not confirm the number of casualties, but said there was an exchange of fire in the area. “Two villages were razed, but I can’t tell the exact number of casualties at the moment.

The report I am getting indicates that some persons were killed,” he said. There were reports that truck loads of soldiers from Taraba State and the neighbouring Adamawa State stormed the area two days ago to search for their missing colleagues.

A military source who pleaded anonymity said they recovered two bodies of their missing colleagues and were looking for the remaining one when gunmen opened fire on them. He added that they defended themselves and in the process, many of the attackers were killed. But locals said, over 27 people were killed including children and women.

Tension is said to be mounting in Takum town and its environs as the Kuteb youths are hunting and killing the Tiv people who they alleged killed 13 of their people. Following the development, the council chairman, Mr. Caleb Bitrus Babafi, has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Takum town to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

Confirming the killings, Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Joseph Kwaji, said he was not aware of the killings in Karim Lamido, but said nine people were killed in Takum following a clash between the Tiv and Kuteb. Kwaji who said no arrest has been made, however, noted that relative peace has returned to the area as the police were on patrol of the town and its environs to prevent escalation of the crisis. In the meantime, a group known as Concerned Taraba Tiv Youth Frontier, CTTYF, has condemned in strong terms, the senseless and barbaric killing of innocent people in Takum and its environs.

In a statement issued in Jalingo by the vice chairman of the group, Mr. Kater Amah, the group called on the state government to quickly intervene and ensure the protection of lives and property. The statement called on both parties to lay down their arms and embrace peace in the interest of peace, unity and development of the council and the state.

In Plateau State, Gwom and Paulina who got married about two weeks ago were among those confirmed killed yesterday when gunmen suspected to be Fulani militia invaded two villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.

The killing was coming barely three days after over 400 villagers were allegedly killed in Wase Local Government Area during an invasion believed to be a reprisal by soldiers.

In the latest attack in Barkin Ladi, 17 people including women and children were killed in Vat village, while 13 others were killed in Zakupang village Vat is the country home of the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Reng Ochekpe.

Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Emmanuel Loman confirmed the attacks to journalists in Jos yesterday. Loman who condemned the attack blamed security agencies for not protecting the lives of the citizens of the local government. He also decried the incessant attacks in the locality and challenged the security agencies, especially the Special Task Force, STF, to take action towards arresting the attackers.

Village head of Kapwen in Foron District, Da Gwom Ishaku Pam, confirmed the killing of Pastor Gwom and Pualina by the attackers.

The village head said the series of attacks in the locality is causing the people sleepless night and maintained that so far 17 corpses have been recovered and are awaiting mass burial as at the time of filling this report.

Meanwhile, condemnation yesterday trailed the invasion of three Taroh villages, including Kadarko, Kurmi and Wadata ın Wase by soldiers which resulted in the death of several people and destruction of their houses.

In a statement, the apex organisation of Tarok nation in the state, ‘Ngwang Ishi ‘O’ Taroh,’ described the attack as a conspiracy to exterminate the people from their ancestral land, and vowed to take the matter to the International Criminal Court for redress.

The statement, signed by the general secretary of the organisation, Pastor Nanlir Kartim Napbut, reads in part: “The plan to remove the Tarokman has reached its peak with the killings and maiming of lives and the wanton destruction of houses and foodstuff at the weekend in Kadarko district of Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State. These inhuman acts were carried out by the Nigerian Army.

The casualty rate is not known at the moment but property worth hundreds of millions in naira were destroyed.

“It is, however, very unimaginable that the intelligence and compass bearings of the military led them to settlements (Kurmi, Wadata and Kadarko) of over 100 years as militia bases.

We consider this very unfortunate and believe that the military has just conspired with some powers that be somewhere to ensure that the Tarok man is forced out of the land of his inheritance.

“If the following questions are answered, it will give a sense of relief: Who were the Tarok people arrested as militias? Who led the military to the settlements as militia bases? Are civilians (women and children) targets in any form of war? Are houses parts of the militia? What is/are the motive(s) behind the demolition of houses?

“We want to let the Nigerian government and the international community know that there is a conspiracy against the Tarok nation and we will channel this inhuman act to appropriate quarters, particularly, the United Nations, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigerian Army and the Presidency.”

National Mirror

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