Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
The death toll in the communal clash that erupted on the Mambilla Plateau on Thursday between the Fulani and Mambilla ethnic stock has risen to ten.
This is coming just as the state governor, Darius Ishaku has appealed to the people of the area to sheath their swords and embrace peace in order to engender the development of the area.
Confirming the rise in the number of casualties in the crisis in a telephone interview with THISDAY, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dave Akinremi said the casualties were from both warring groups.
He however maintained that the state police command has succeeded in returning normalcy to the area even as the command, in conjunction with soldiers deployed from the Army Barracks in Serti remain on ground to prevent further escalation of the crisis.
According to him, “The crisis has been brought under control and normalcy has returned to the area but our men are still on ground with soldiers deployed from Serti to complement the police.
“It is very unfortunate that the crisis occurred. I had held several meetings with the leaders and stakeholders of all the ethnic groups on the Mambilla on the need to embrace peace and they gave me their words to maintain peace, but it is very unfortunate that this is happening now”, he lamented.
Ishaku, who equally lamented the outbreak of violent clashes in the plateau despite government’s efforts to sustain peace in the area, has appealed to warring groups to embrace peace.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Dan Abu, Ishaku noted that “Mambilla plateau is of national and international significance and the people of the area must therefore ensure that they live in peace with one another to engender the development of the area.”
Specifically, Ishaku noted that the Mambilla plateau holds a very great prospect in power generation and tourism stressing that all hands must be on deck to harness the full potentials of the area.
He however maintained that the state government would not rest on its oars to ensure peace reigns in every part of the state, just as he enjoined all the well meaning people of the state to complement government’s efforts to maintain peace.
Fresh crisis had erupted on the Mambilla Thursday evening between the warring groups, following a dispute over land; leaving four people dead.
A similar crisis between the two groups in last year June claimed eighteen lives including properties worth millions of naira just as thousands of people were rendered homeless.