Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
The death toll in the killings by unknown gunmen in Takum and Ussa local government areas of Taraba state has risen to 18 as five people were on Thursday killed at Konkaen village in Ussa local government area.
The killings, which started on Monday at Tati village in Takum before spreading to Kwesati village in Ussa had earlier claimed 13 lives including Fulanis before Thursday’s attack.
Though there were speculations that the killings are being perpetrated by fleeing members of Boko Haram from Borno state, Thursday’s killing was said to have been carried out by herdsmen.
The Chairman of Ussa local government area, Mr. Rimamsikwe Hassan Karma who confirmed the latest killings to THISDAY in a telephone interview said the victims were killed by Fulani herdsmen who laid ambush at Konkaen village, few kilometers from Lisam, the local government headquarters.
He further revealed that their corpses have been released to their families and buried on Fridayafter security agencies took their reports.
Karma, who maintained that the killings in Ussa was a spill-over from Takum, however raised the alarm that there are rumours that some people dressed in Army uniform were seen around Kwesati/River Manyan axis bordering Takum, and called on security agencies to be on alert to prevent further attacks on his people.
â€œThe five people were killed at Konkaen, few kilometres to Lisam by Fulani herdsmen who laid ambush for them. Their corpses have been released to their families and were buried on Friday. Right now, there are rumours that some people in army uniform were seen around Kwesati by River Many an axis and we are calling on security agencies to be on alert to prevent further killingsâ€, he said.
He however appealed to the people of the area particularly the youths to remain calm and not take laws into their own hands, saying government and the security agencies are doing everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book just as he urged government to come to the aid of those already displaced by the crisis.
THISDAY gathered that several herds of cattle are currently stranded in the bushes in the area after being abandoned by herdsmen who fled the area to avoid being killed in reprisal attacks by indigenes.
THISDAY gathered that the crisis in the area was sparked by the killing of a young man who was bathing in the river at Tati village by herdsmen, which led to a reprisal attack by some youths in the area.
Prior to the attacks, peace had returned to Southern and Central Taraba districts, which had been hitherto been plagued by incessant killings following series of peace moves brokered by the governor Darius Ishaku and it is hoped that the current crisis is quickly nipped in the bud to avoid a return to the dark era of incessant and indiscriminate killings.