Tiv/Jukun Crisis Escalates, 5 Killed in Wukari

By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo, Ibrahim Shuaibu in Dutse and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Five persons were killed and several others injured yesterday, as the crisis between the Tiv and Jukun tribes in Wukari, Taraba State escalated.
Several homes were set ablaze in the renewed attacks on Wapan Naku and Ikyaior villages in Wukari Local Government Area.

This is coming after bandits, on Thursday night, raided Garin Mai-dawa village in Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State, killing one person, injuring over nine others.
However, there was reprieve yesterday in Zamfara with the killing of seven bandits, which though resulted in the loss of a soldier, when troops of the Nigerian Army under Operation Sharan Daji and Harbin Kunama III, engaged in a fierce encounter with the outlaws in Aljumma and Ketere villages in Zamfara State.
The renewed conflict between the Tiv and Jukun tribes in Wukari, Taraba state occurred less than a week after the deputy governors of Benue and Taraba states brokered peace between the warring tribes, which led to a cessation of hostilities.
Confirming the incident, Police Public Relations Officer, Taraba State Command, DSP David Misal said he was waiting for details of the casualty figures from the DPO and Wukari Area Command.
But speaking in a telephone interview, Chairman of Wukari Local Government Area, Daniel Adi said five people were killed in the attacks while several others were still missing.
According to Adi, “It is unfortunate that after a peace meeting between Taraba and Benue state government on Monday, we woke up to fresh attack on our people in Wapan Naku.
“Five of our men were killed while three other people were injured and about 28 houses were also burnt. Some of our people are also missing,” he said.
THISDAY also gathered that there was an attack on Ikyaior village on Thursday, which led to the reprisal attack on Wapan Naku yesterday morning.
A former Special Adviser to the Taraba state governor, Orbee Uchiv, who hails from Ikyaior, told Journalists that over 100 houses were either burnt or vandalised at Ikyaior.
Uchiv, who operates a private school in the village said over fifty computers were carted away before the entire school was razed by the attackers.
Similar gory tales were told in Zamfara and Katsina States, where bandits have persistently killed defenseless people, particularly women, children and the aged.
Survivors of the Thursday’s attack in Jigawa said the armed bandits rode on motorbikes to Garin Mai-dawa village in Dutse Local Government Area at about 3a.m
They said the bandits asked for the residence of a prominent business man, Alhaji Abdulkadir, who had returned home the previous night with large sums of money.
Abdulkadir told his wife, Raihana Muhammed, to release the money to the bandits as they tortured her. But dissatisfied with the amount she gave them, one of the gunmen shot the businessman in the face.
His wife told reporters that he survived, stating, “they were carrying guns and pointed the gun at me demanding that I should bring out the money my husband came home with, threatening to kill him if I refuse.”
She said her husband pleaded with her to go and get them the money so that they can spare his life. “The terrible ordeal did not end after I gave them the money as they insisted on more but I told them it was all that‎ was with me.”
She said a neighbour, Alhaji Muhammad Jinjiri, who came to the businessman’s rescue, was shot dead by the bandits, who also injured nine other people as they fled the scene.
She said: “We initially all thought our husband was killed until some people that came after the robbers had left found out that he was still breathing that was how he and the other victims that sustained gunshot injuries were rushed to the Rasheed Shekoni Teaching hospital in Dutse.”
Jigawa State Deputy Governor Ibrahim Hassan, who confirmed the incidence to journalists, said: “The bandits allegedly tracked one Abdulkadir from the market to his residence for money.”
Hassan urged residents not to feel terrorised, stating that the police had been mobilised to pursue and capture the bandits.
Corroborating the deputy governor’s statement, the Commissioner of Police Mr. Bala Zama Senchi said the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was on the trail of the bandits, assuring that they would soon be apprehended.
In recent times, Zamfara and Katsina states had become theatres of attacks by highly mobile bandits, who kill indiscriminately to avoiding being caught by security operatives.
The killing of seven bandits and the loss of a soldier in Zamfara was a fallout of the ongoing war against armed banditry issued by Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major C.K Abiade, who said troops in conjunction with the Nigerian Army Deep Blue Special Forces, NAF component and vigilantes had a fiecrce encounter with a large number of well-armed bandits.
“Due to superior fire power of the troops, they were able to compel the bandits to flee and abandoned their camps which were set ablaze by the gallant troops.
“During the encounter, seven of the bandits were neutralised, while some escaped with gunshot wounds.
“Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice, six soldiers and a vigilante were wounded,” he said.
Items recovered from the bandits included 934 x 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, one AK 47 Rifle, one chain used by the bandits against kidnapped victims and seven motorcycles.