7 feared dead in re­newed Wukari vi­o­lence

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Itodo Daniel Sule (Jalingo) & Ron­ald Mu­tum (Abuja)

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.”

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