7 feared dead in renewed Wukari violence
Police in Taraba State yesterday said seven persons were killed in a renewed crisis in Wukari.
Many people were also reported injured while houses, worship centres and business places were burnt.
Police spokesman, ASP Joseph Kwaji confirmed the incident and said seven persons were feared dead.
Our correspondent gathered that trouble started when the remains of some persons earlier killed in an attack at Nwokyo community were brought to Wukari town for burial on Tuesday, sparking a reprisal.
Residents said there were sporadic shootings in Wukari from about 7pm Tuesday till around 8am yesterday despite the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government.
“We couldn’t sleep last night. Many people fled to the bush and some went to take refuge at the Aku Uka’s palace,” a resident told our correspondent on phone.
Also killed in the crisis was an elder brother to Ishaya Gani, the member representing Wukari II Constituency at the Taraba State House of Assembly as well as some security personnel.
“Reports reaching me indicate that a lot of people have been killed. I cannot ascertain the number of those killed at the moment. My older brother was killed and my house was completely burnt down,” Gani told newsmen.
He blamed the acting governor for not heeding repeated calls from people of the area who earlier requested for deployment of adequate security personnel.
He urged the acting governor to request for more troops from the federal government to tackle the crisis.
Speaking on the violence, Chief Press Secretary to the Acting Governor Garba Umar, Mr. Kefas Sule, said government was aware of the shootings in Wukari but could not confirm the casualty figure.
He said the acting governor had asked the state commissioner of police, the AIG Zone 7, Yola and other top security personnel to monitor the situation in the area and report back on what should be done.
On the deployment of adequate troops, Sule said the security personnel in the state were already over-stretched given the fact the same security personnel had to be deployed to other parts of the state that are equally having security challenges.
When our correspondent contacted the Caretaker Chairman of Wukari LGA, Manasseh Zando, for comment, he declined, saying he would not speak until he gets approval.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters in Abuja said troops deployed to restore law and order in Wukari have apprehended 14 armed men who were involved in the fighting.
The violence resulted in the burning of no fewer than 25 houses and displacement of over 200 persons, said Defence Headquarters spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade.
“The troops also captured a building where arms were being fabricated. 4 locally fabricated machine guns, one sub machine gun, 4 single barrel guns as well as 21 live cartridges were recovered in the process,” he said.
“Normalcy has since been restored as troops maintain patrols of the locality.”