Herdsmen strike again, kill 30 in Taraba, Benue ... Women, youths protest in Plateau over killings

By Editor on 13/04/2018

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Herdsmen have, again struck in Taraba and Benue States, killing 30 people in separate attacks yesterday.

The presence of Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris and a military probe panel in Taraba State yesterday did not deter the marauding herdsmen from carrying out their onslaught.

They killed 25 residents of Jandeikyula village in Wukari local government area last night.

Taraba State police spokesman David Misal, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) , confirmed the attack and killings.

Governor Darius Ishaku said: “As I am talking to you, I didn’t sleep last night. At 1am, I was woken up by a distress call on another herdsmen militia attack.

“Fortunately, yesterday, the military from Takum came in to help. .They battled till this morning. They counted 15 bodies, some injured ones are in the hospital in Sondi,” Ishaku said.

Victor Iortim, an eye-witness, said the attackers, numbering over 200, were carrying “rifles and cutlasses.”

“I went to a neighbouring village and was returning home when I sighted them. They were numbering close to 200. They were Fulani militants. They were well armed with sophisticated weapons.

“I quickly hid in the bush. There was no way I could call home because there was no telephone network where I was hiding,” he said.

Chairman of Wukari local government, Daniel  Adi, who also confirmed the attack,  said “many people have been killed.”

Adi, who spoke to reporters on the telephone on his way to the area said: “I don’t have the casualty figure now. But many people were killed in the attack

“I am on my way to the place, I will give you the details after visiting the scene,” he said.

Special Adviser to Governor Ishaku on Students’ Affairs,

Samson Tor-Musa, who hails from the area, confirmed the incident. He said 25 bodies had been recovered.

A former Special Adviser to the late Governor Danbaba Suntai, Orbee Uchiv, an indigene of Jandeikyula, said:  “They invaded the village on Wednesday at 6pm and opened fire on innocent persons without provocation,” he said.

Uchiv said the number of deaths would have been more, but for the intervention of soldiers on patrol around the area who were coming from Gbeji, a neighbouring town in Benue state where the herdsmen killed four persons on Tuesday.

In neighbouring Benue State, suspected herdsmen killed five persons in separate attacks.

In Ukember- Agya, Logo Local Government area, two persons were killed by the militia at about 2 am during an attack on the farming community.

Chairman of Logo Local Government Richard Nyajo, said the herdsmen came heavily armed and ransacked the community, setting houses ablaze

In Agbobouhol, a suburb of Makurdi, the state capital, the attackers shot two people dead in broad day light.

Panicky Wadata residents fled the area in droves.

Police spokesman Moses Yamu confirmed the killings and said Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni had visited the place.

He added that a detachment of riot police had been deployed in the area

In Jande Ikyuran village, Lumbur Ward ,Ukum local Government Ares in Benue North East Senatorial District , three people were killed in an early morning attack.

Principal  Secretary- General of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Benue state Comrade Boga Abuul said the invaders stormed the farming community located along Anyiin- Wukari road at about 5 am.

Abuul said the invaders surrounded Jande Ikyura village and set houses ablaze before shooting and killing those who attempted to escape.

He said many houses were set ablaze and property worth millions of naira destroyed by the herdsmen.

Police spokesman Moses Yamu said he was not aware of the killings in Jande Ikyura village.

Meanwhile,  Parliamentary activities at the Plateau State House of Assembly were on Thursday delayed by two separate groups of protesters that stormed the Assembly complex.

The protesters, mostly women and youths, stormed the Assembly to register their displeasure over the spate of killings by Fulani herdsmen.

While the first group, the Internally Displaced Women in Daffo District, in the Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, made “an urgent call to action on the humanitarian situation in the area following attacks by Fulani herdsmen,” the other group, Middle Belts Youths Arise, demanded the establishment of Middle Belt Development Commission to deal with specific situations caused by the conflicts.

The Speaker of Plateau House of Assembly, Peter Azi, and other principal officers, hurriedly left their duties to attend to the protesters.

Afer listening to his guests, Azi said, “We will look into your grievances and rest assured that something positive will be done.”

The IDW of Daffo displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘We have been made Internally Displaced Persons in our land,’ ‘We demand justice for Daffo,’ ‘Where is SEMA – State Emergency Management Agency?’ ‘The rains are here and we don’t have homes,’ ‘Our votes count’ and ‘Governor Simon Lalong, help us.’

The MBYA also showed their placards with inscriptions like ‘Unite for a greater tomorrow,’ ‘Stop the genocide: Peace! Peace!! Peace!!!’ ‘We want peace, not war,’ ‘No to occupation of our villages,’ ‘Our heritage, our pride, stop the killings,’ ‘Disarm the Fulani herdsmen,’ ‘We all have to defend our land (Middle Belt),’ and ‘We need justice for the killings, stop the armed herdsmen.’

The women submitted a petition signed by Comfort Matawal Malan to the Assembly, detailing the plight of over 7,000 IDPs in the Daffo District camp.

The petition read in part, “Many of us have been completely thrown off balance having been parted with our lifetime investments in food crops, houses and property. Many still face threats of losing their farmlands to marauding Fulani who have trespassed on our farmlands, clearing and tilling, obviously for the purpose of cultivation as the farming season approaches.

“This is in addition to the trauma already built up in our minds and the fear of insecurity which might not allow us to resume and face our normal socio-economic lives with required vigour to flourish.”

The women demanded adequate security for affected communities, while “the same strategy employed to guard farmers in the North-East and elsewhere on their farms should be employed to enable our farmers to pick up economically.”

The spokesperson for MBYA, John Okpe, said the Middle Belt “has been constitutionally demobilised and geographically balkanised.”

He said, “The government has formulated a policy of self-sufficiency in terms of producing what we consume at most in 2020. This is commendable; the Middle Belters have agriculture as their mainstay and can help the government to achieve this vision.

“However, this policy, lofty as it is, will remain a mirage if farmers, who are the harbingers, are burnt down in their farms.”

The MBYA in a memo submitted to the Plateau Assembly, signed by Samuel Odumu Okpe, demanded an outright cessation of all hostilities by the armed herdsmen.

The organisation warned that “if the attacks go on, our people will defend themselves.” – Punch.

Posted 13/04/2018 06:52:26 AM


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