Monday, 22 January 2018

National News

Residents Put Taraba’s Death Toll At 56

Residents said the death toll from the killing of people of Taraba communities by Fulani herdsmen have risen to 56 on Wednesday, as survivors count their loses.

 

Some armed Fulani herdsmen had on Friday and Saturday attacked many communities in the Lau Local Government Area of the state, including Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku, leaving blood in their trail.

 

The attack in Lau villages came barely 24 hours after suspected herdsmen killed a family of five and seven others in the Wukari and Gassol local government areas of the state.

 

The residents of the affected communities in Lau LGA said the death toll in the attack had hit 56 persons, mostly children and women, while over 200 houses were recorded to have been burnt.

 

They called on the Federal Government to declare Fulani herdsmen a terror group, just as 29 of the victims killed in the attacks on Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku communities in the Lau LGA were on Wednesday given a mass burial in Katibu and Didango.

 

The affected communities on Wednesday remained deserted as residents had fled; and it was gathered that only security personnel deployed in the area were visible.

 

One of the affected residents, Mr. Sani Marafa, who said six of his relations were among those given the mass burial, added that the attackers were over 100.

 

“They attacked us at about 3pm on Friday and Saturday, killing people and setting them on fire. Six of my relations are among the victims. I almost could not recognise my relations after the killer Fulani attack my village

 

“The government must deploy soldiers in Taraba immediately to contain this situation. The attackers were well armed and I don’t think the police have the capacity to deal with them.

 

“As I speak to you, all our houses, foodstuffs and other valuable items have been destroyed. Many families here are passing through serious trauma,” he said.

 

Another resident of one of the attacked communities, Mrs. Paulina Habila, a mother of four, said apart from killing her husband, the Fulani herdsmen made her homeless.

 

She said, “The Federal Government have failed to protect us here. My husband was slaughtered like a goat by the Fulani men who invaded our village. They killed over 35 people in our village alone and razed the entire community.”

 

Another victim of the attack, Pastor Titus Makovini, said, “The killers came into the community church and they slaughtered some worshipers, while others fled.

 

“The security personnel failed to protect us for the two days that the attackers laid siege to our communities.”

 

A survivor of the attack, who gave her name simply as Joy, said she escaped death by a whisker when the armed herdsmen struck.

 

Joy, who lamented the death of her 69-year-old mother and other relations in the attack, said, “The Federal Government must find a lasting solution to this senseless and mindless killing of innocent people by rampaging herdsmen.”

 

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, said 12 people were killed during the attack on the communities.

 

“The attack happened on Friday and Saturday, but because the attackers were still laying siege to the communities, bodies of the dead could not be recovered and buried until we provided security for them to do so.

 

“Our men are currently on the ground in the area and the situation is now under control,” he said.

 

On his part, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Abu, told our correspondent that 29 corpses were recovered from burnt houses, bush paths and nearby farms where the victims tried to hide from the killer Fulani herdsmen.

 

“It is really a disturbing sight. A combined team of armed soldiers and policemen have to provide security cover for the villagers to enable them conduct the funeral rites for the dead,” he added.

 

The Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Nulvaga Danhabu, said the state government had provided relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons who fled the areas for safety.

 

“The IDPs from the Lau crisis are currently camping in Kufai, Mayo Dassa and the Federal Character Commission office in Jalingo, Mayo-Lope and Abari Lau. In the days ahead, we will see what we can do to alleviate their sufferings,” he said.

 

Killings going on in Benue despite IG presence –Group

 

A group, Community Development Coalition, has raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen are still carrying out killings in the Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.

 

The group added that the atrocities were occurring despite the deployment of police operatives and soldiers and the relocation of the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, to the state.

 

The CDC Convener, Prof. Yima Sen, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, that he had visited the affected communities and was informed that attacks by the herdsmen had not abated.

 

Continued from page 7Sen noted that the security forces on the ground had been unable to stop the bloodshed across the state.

 

“I left the crisis area about five hours ago and from my consultations with the people, killings are still going on. I am not satisfied with the security situation; I have also consulted with the people and they are not satisfied with the situation,” he said.

 

The CDC said it would do all that was legally possible to ensure the full implementation of the Benue State Anti-open Grazing Prohibition Law.

 

It said it would also facilitate “the emergence of a robust, reliable and sustainable community-driven security system.”

 

The group rejected the proposed cattle colonies for herdsmen by the Federal Government, insisting that no inch of Benue land would be given out to the herdsmen.

 

Sen said, “We can’t be colonised by the Fulani; they can ranch, but if anyone is talking about cattle colonies, they should find another location, not Benue.”

 

The CDC convener accused President Muhammadu Buhari of turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the herdsmen.

 

He said, “We are left with no option than to conclude that the President, who by the way is the grand patron of Miyetti Allah, has turned a blind eye and is bent on keeping deaf ears to these atrocities.”

 

A former Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Bernard Verr, argued that the open grazing of cattle constituted a danger to the nation’s agriculture, food security and the economic diversification programme of the government.

 

When asked about the reported killings, the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, said he was not aware, adding that the CDC should furnish him with  the names of the communities so he could ascertain the claims.