By Augustine Osayande
Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have killed 27 persons in Nwonko village of Wukari local government council of Taraba State.
According to locals in the area, the attacks began at the early hours of the day also resulted to massive destructions of farmlands and properties worth millions of naira. Several persons were also left with various degrees of injuries.
Speaking on the magnitude of the crisis, the member representing Wukari to constituency at the state House of Assembly, Daniel Ishaya Gani, said most of the casualties are women and children.
He said the attackers stormed the village in their thousands and started destroying properties from Tunari village before storming Nwonko.
“At the beginning, we thought the attackers were Boko Haram from Maiduguri because of their large numbers. It was later on that we discovered that they are Fulani herdsmen” Gani said.
The lawmaker blamed the lukewarm attitudes of the security operatives especially the military men in charge of the areas to the incessant attacks that have left a lot of people dead and several others injured.
“The military commander in charge of the area seems to be taking side because he is always very reluctant in drafting his men to crisis area even if our people run to him,” he said.
Gani added that the refusal of the state government to fulfill its part of the earlier agreement by paying compensation to the herdsmen over their missing cows as one of the major reason for the continue attacks.
According to him, the state government during the former Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, promised to compensate these people (herdsmen) but since he left office, the present government has refused to honour the agreement. So I believed that is a major reason for the attacks.”
He called for the immediate transfer of the military commandant in charge of the area and stressed the need for the state government to fulfill its parts of the agreement.
Also confirming the attack to the President of the Wukari Youths of Vision, Awudu Kefas, said should the government continue to demonstrate lukewarm attitudes towards the attacks, they may be compelled to defend themselves.
“We are not going to fold our hands watching our people being killed on daily bases without government putting in place positive measures to bring the attackers to book” Kefas said.
The State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Joseph Kwaji, who also confirmed the attack agreed that nine corpses have so far been recovered from the scene of the upheaval.
“The crisis is between the Fulani herdsmen and the Jukuns, nine corpses have been recovered from the scene and several houses burnt” Kwaji said.
He said the attackers fled the scene before the arrival of the policemen.
“The attackers fled the scene before the arrival of our men and that made it possible for us to recover the nine corpses. Our men are on ground patrolling the place and relative peace is returning,” he said.