George Okoh in Makurdi
No fewer than 200 people have so far been confirmed dead while properties valued hundreds of millions destroyed following attacks on Benue State ommunities by suspected Jukun militia.
Executive Chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, Hon. Ibellogo Tor-Ityokaa, disclosed this during a world press conference he addressed in Zaki-Biam Thursday.
He stated further that villages worst hit by the attacks included Tse- Ayali, Igbongom, Tse-Ayali, Tse –Atsenga, Vaase, Namtaav and New City.
The council chairman also accused his Wukari Local Government Area counterpart of aiding the Jukun militia to launch mayhem on Tiv settlements.
He expressed worry that after concerted peace efforts by his council and the Benue State Government, the non-collaborative stand by his Wukari counterpart was fast worsening the situation.
According to him, more villages were still being attacked by the Jukun militia and their herdsmen collaborators.
Ibellogo, who also fingered politics as the main reason behind the crisis, said from available intelligence report, the Tiv in Taraba State were being attacked owing to their refusal to vote Jukun candidates in the last general elections.
“I think what is happening is well beyond an ordinary squabble as it is being reported. From intelligence, we have gathered that the Tiv, especially those living in Wukari, are being killed over political issues.
“The Tiv people, according to information available to me, are being hunted over their refusal to vote for Jukun candidates during the elections, and my counterpart from Wukari is actively involved in this acts of infamy,” he said.
The Ukum council chairman equally accused Fulani militia of cashing-in on the fragile development to invade and sacked Tiv villages with their cattle.
According to him, “The Fulani had been looking for an opportunity to invade our communities with their cattle, and the crisis has provided for them an ample opportunity to carry out such act. As we speak, over 5,000 persons have been displaced as a result of this crisis which had placed on us a heavy burden.”
While appealing for calm, the chairman called on the federal authorities to come to the aid of the displaced, stressing that the situation had over stretched the resources of the council.