Wukari vi­o­lence death toll reaches 54

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Four more per­sons were re­ported killed yes­ter­day by se­cu­rity per­son­nel in the on­go­ing cri­sis in Wukari, Taraba State, bring­ing the ca­su­alty fig­ure to 54.

A source told Daily Trust that the four were shot dead fol­low­ing the or­der given for se­cu­rity per­son­nel to shoot any­one who comes out dur­ing the cur­few pe­riod.

Taraba po­lice spokesman, Joseph Kwaji, could not be im­me­di­ately reached as he was said to be at­tend­ing a peace meet­ing in but a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial cor­rob­o­rated the ac­count.

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents are said to have fled the town for the bush and nearby com­mu­ni­ties fol­low­ing re­newed clashes.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Chief Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor of the Specialist Hospi­tal Jalingo, Dr Ri­mande Joel, yes­ter­day con­firmed that 26 vic­tims with se­vere in­juries had been ad­mit­ted in the hospi­tal.

Joel dis­closed that the hospi­tal’s emer­gency unit which was al­ready crowded with vic­tims from Jibu and other cri­sis ar­eas could not ac­com­mo­date all the Wukari vic­tims.

“We had to take some of them to the chil­dren’s ward and oth­ers to the male sur­gi­cal ward but we are do­ing ev­ery­thing to give them good med­i­cal care,” he said.

The di­rec­tor said the state Act­ing Gover­nor, Al­haji Garba Umar, had di­rected that all vic­tims be treated free of charge.

“We have treated 13 vic­tims from Jibu and the state govern­ment has set­tled the bills and made a prom­ise to set­tle for all vic­tims of Wukari,” he said, adding that the staff were not enough but were very ready to do the job.

“I can’t say we have enough per­son­nel but the ones on ground are highly mo­ti­vated for the job,” he added.

Res­i­dents yes­ter­day urged the state and federal gov­ern­ments to de­ploy more se­cu­rity per­son­nel to quell the cri­sis.

Those who spoke with our cor­re­spon­dent lamented that the num­ber of se­cu­rity per­son­nel al­ready in the area is grossly in­ad­e­quate.

They said de­spite the 24-hour cur­few im­posed on the town, some people have con­tin­ued to un­leash mayhem, es­pe­cially in ar­eas where there is no se­cu­rity pres­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to them, govern­ment needs to de­ploy more soldiers for the sit­u­a­tion to im­prove to en­able people go out to get food.

“We are beg­ging the govern­ment to do that so that the cur­few can be re­laxed even by two or three hours to en­able us get food. Many of us have been in­doors and we have ex­hausted our food­stuff. Even to get wa­ter to drink now is a se­ri­ous prob­lem”, a res­i­dent said.

In the same vein, the law­maker rep­re­sent­ing Wukari II Con­stituency at the Taraba State House of As­sem­bly, Ishaya Gani, called on the state govern­ment to de­ploy more troops to the area.

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