By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
The casualty figure from the attack on Jandeikyula Village in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba StateÂ on WednesdayÂ by suspected Fulani militia has risen to 32.
Â This follows the discovery of additional seven corpses by residents of the village in nearby bushes besides the initial 25 discoveredÂ on Wednesday.Â Â
This is coming just as women in their thousands from Takum and Ussa local government areas protested against what they termed â€œharassment and complicity of Soldiers of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in the killings going on in the area.â€Â Â
Confirming the fresh recoveries to newsmen, an aide to former governor Danbaba Suntai, Orbee Uchiv who is an indigene of the community said the bodies were recoveredÂ on Thursday.Â Â
Uchiv further stated the bodies had been buried by the community just as he revealed that security operatives had been drafted to the village to forestall further attacks.Â Â
He equally confirmed to newsmen that those who sustained varying degrees of injuries are currently receiving treatment at Wukari General Hospital and other private hospitals in the area.Â Â
Meanwhile, thousands of women in Takum and Ussa local government areas of the state yesterday staged a peaceful protest to call for an end to killings in the two local governments.
The women, who gathered at Takum to stage the protest, also demanded an end to alleged harassment and complicity of the Armed Forces in the killings going on in the area.Â
Carrying placards with various inscriptions such as â€œwe are tired of intimidationâ€,Â Â â€œstop harassing our peopleâ€, â€œwe want to sleep with our eyes closedâ€ and â€œSoldiers should go and disarm our killers in the bushesâ€ among others, marched through major streets of Takum before heading to the 98 Battalion, Ada Barracks, Takum.Â
At the Barracks, the women blocked the gate and demanded to see the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Ibrahim Gambari but we’re told he was not available.Â
Leader of the women, Mrs Esther Yakubu told journalists that they decided to come together to protest the killings going on in the area and draw the attention of Nigerians and the international community to lack of seriousness by the federal government to end the killings.Â
Fuming with rage, she lamented that the Army personnel of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma had been busy harassing people in the town while armed Fulani militia were killing people in the bush with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons.Â Â
She accused the Army personnel of indiscriminate arrest of their youths and taking them to unknown places where they are subjected to torture and other inhuman treatments.Â
“Last night, the army arrested our youths and we don’t know their whereabouts. We learnt they are with them in the barracks. Those killing us are in the bush, we want them to go and disarm them to enable us go back to farm because rain is here.
“Our people are peasant farmers and they depend on farming to make a living. But today, the Fulani militias have taken over our land and nobody dares go to the farm or else you’re killed. We are now at the mercy of the armed Fulani militias who have continued with their killing spree and destruction, unabated.”Â
Yakubu however revealed that they would not be deterred by the refusal of the Commanding Officer to address them, saying they would continue to keep vigil as long as it takes the military authorities to attend to their demands.Â Â
The Investigative Probe Panel put in place by the Chief of Army Staff to investigate the allegation of collusion with armed bandits to kill people leveled against the Army by General T. Y. Danjuma met with governor IshakuÂ on ThursdayÂ and promised to be fair to all the parties to the crisis.Â
Efforts to reach Lt. Col. Ibrahim Gambari on phone to respond to the women’s allegations were futile as he did not return calls to his line or reply to a text message sent to his phone.Â