73 die in communal clash

No fewer than 73 persons have been confirmed dead and about 50 villages burnt, following a renewed violence between the Hausa-Fulani and Yandang communities in Lau local government area of Taraba State.

The state chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Sahabi Mahmoud, told journalists in Jalingo, yesterday, that the hostilities, which started on July 5, has claimed the lives of more than 23 of his members.

He said that over 3,000 displaced Hausa-Fulanis, mainly women and children, who fled the area, are currently taking refuge at the Muslim Council Secretariat in Jalingo and other neighbouring local government areas.

He described as unfortunate that since the displaced persons arrived, the Muslim Council in Jalingo, no government official had visited the camp or provided any form of relief to the victims.

On his part, an elder of the Yandang community, Mr Aaron Artimas, said more than 50 persons from the side of the Yandang and other tribes in the area were confirmed dead as a result of the conflicts.

Artimas noted that the Hausa-Fulanis, Yandang, Mumuye and Yoti, among other tribes, had lived in the area as brothers and sisters without problems for centuries.

He blamed the recent recurrent conflicts and incitement from people outside the area, for the escalation of the crisis.

“Some militia from neighbouring Adamawa State have infiltrated into Babagasa, a border village between Taraba and Adamawa, and have been wreaking havoc on all the surrounding villages in Lau local government in Taraba.

“Villages such as Tikule, Bariki, Santuraki, Budong, Mbonding and Panti-Ladda, among others, were burnt by the militia. Over 2,000 displaced persons from the affected villages are currently taking refuge at the Central Primary School, Jalingo.

“Some are in other villages like Sunkani, Apawa, Zing and Bali all in Taraba, while several others fled to Gorobi, Sabon-Gida, Bujum and Mayo-Belwa in Adamawa State.

“Since the arrival of IDPs in their current locations, they have been living at the mercy of God and good spirited individuals who have been taking food to them.

“Since the conflicts erupted on July 5, there has not been the presence of security personnel even as the people continue to kill themselves,’’ he explained.

The Taraba Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, who confirmed the incident, said the number of casualties was still being compiled, while normalcy has been restored in the affected areas.