By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Two persons were killed and several houses burnt when gunmen suspected to be Jukun militia attacked Ibua village, a Tiv settlement, along Wukari-Ibi Road in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State late on Thursday night.
The Taraba State Police Command confirmed the attack, a renewed communal clash between the Jukuns and Tivs, which has also left hundreds of people displaced.
This is coming just as what would have led to a religious clash between Christians and Muslims in Wukari on Wednesday was averted by a combined team of security operatives.
One of the victims of the Ibua attack, Orhembaga Laregh, said the attackers invaded the village about 7pm and shot indiscriminately before setting the village ablaze.
Another eyewitness, Terngu Deior, said he was sitting in front of his house when suddenly he saw armed men trooping into the village from Wukari axis.
“I escaped through the back door and ran to the nearby police check point but there was nobody to report to,” he said.
Confirming the attack in Ibua village to THISDAY in a telephone interview, the Police Public Relations Officer, Taraba State Command, DSP David Misal said a detachment of security personnel had been deployed to restore normalcy in the area.
He revealed that the attackers had stormed the community and set several houses ablaze as residents ran into nearby bushes to take refuge while the attackers immediately took to their heels after carrying out their dastardly act.
According to him, “The attackers quickly fled the scene thereafter before the arrival of security operatives but security operatives have been duly mobilised to the area and normalcy has been restored in the area.
“The Divisional Police Officer of Ibi is leading a team of police officers on a manhunt of the attackers”, Misal said, adding that the gunmen are suspected to be Jukun youths.
The crisis between the two ethnic nationalities seems to have defied solutions as it has continued to rage despite peace efforts by the state and federal governments.
Meanwhile, another bloody religious clash was averted at Wukari by security operatives on Wednesday as Christians and Muslims engaged each other in a fight over the demolition of a building.
THISDAY gathered that trouble started when some Christian youths went and demolished a building erected by Muslims on a land purported to belong to the government.
The two groups engaged each other in a free for all after the demolition and had resorted to use of arms before the situation was brought under control by security operatives.
Governor Darius Ishaku had during a peace meeting in Abuja, convened by the federal government to end the crisis last September, noted that the crisis was an internal affair of Taraba and pledged to end it. However, the crisis has persisted despite the peace meeting.