Fear grips Taraba res­i­dents over with­drawal of troops

Mon­archs back Dan­juma, task probe panel on fair­ness

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - KILLINGS BY HERDSMEN AND BOKO HARAM - From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo

PAL­PA­BLE fear has gripped res­i­dents of Donga, Takum and Wukari coun­cil ar­eas of Taraba fol­low­ing the re­cent with­drawal of mil­i­tary per­son­nel from the state.

A tour by The­guardian re­vealed that the once vis­i­ble army check­points in the af­fected ar­eas were non-ex­is­tent.

It was gath­ered that the troops that once pro­vided se­cu­rity to the flash­points had re­lo­cated to the 93 Bat­tal­ion in Takum on the strength of a di­rec­tive from the force head­quar­ters in Abuja.

Dis­turbed by the new de­vel­op­ment, some of the res­i­dents told news­men that they were no longer sleep­ing with two eyes closed for fear of be­ing at­tacked by the mo­bile herds­men, who in the first place, ne­ces­si­tated the de­ploy­ment of the troops.

The chair­man of Donga lo­cal coun­cil, Nashuka Ipeyen, faulted the de­ci­sion of the mil­i­tary hi­er­ar­chy, not­ing that the exit of the troops was al­ready im­pact­ing neg­a­tively on the peo-

p le. Cit­ing the killing of four per­sons few hours af­ter the with­drawal, he, how­ever, pledged that his lead­er­ship was leav­ing no stone un­turned in giv­ing the needed as­sis­tance to the mo­bile po­lice­men de­ployed in the area.

He said: “The pres­ence of the mo­bile po­lice­men drafted to the area has helped a lot to stop the at­tack­ers from burn­ing down vil­lages.”

Ipeyen pleaded with the peo­ple to de­sist from go­ing to the “hin­ter­land “pend­ing when the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion im­proves.

His Takum coun­ter­part, Shiban Tikari, said: “As we speak, the Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the 93 Bat­tal­ion here in Takum has with­drawn troops from all the check­points in this area.”

The af­fected coun­cil chair­men have, how­ever, re­solved to ta­ble the is­sue be­fore the panel raised by the mil­i­tary high com­mand to in­ves­ti­gate the re­marks by for­mer Min­is­ter of De­fence, Lt.-gen. Theophilus Yakubu Dan­juma ac­cus­ing the army of col­lu­sion with the ma­raud­ing herds­men.

How­ever, the state coun­cil of chiefs has thrown its weight be­hind the el­der states­man, say­ing: “Nige­ri­ans have lost con­fi­dence in the mil­i­tary.”

The chair­man and the tra­di­tional head of Jukun race, Dr. Sheka­rau Angyu Masa Ibi (Ku­vyo II), who spoke yes­ter­day while play­ing host to the probe panel, sub­mit­ted that the sit­u­a­tion had com­pelled Nige­ri­ans to “lose ab­so­lute con­fi­dence in the army.”

Ap­plaud­ing the de­ci­sion to probe the al­le­ga­tion by the ex-mil­i­tary chief, the monarch noted that it was a “known fact that the cit­i­zens of this coun­try have lost con­fi­dence in the army de­spite their track records of suc­cess­ful peace-keep­ing mis­sions in other coun­tries.”

The monarch, who hosted the panel in his palace in Wukari coun­cil area, told the del­e­ga­tion that “Nige­ri­ans, who are cry­ing for jus­tice, are ex­pect­ing much from you,” adding that the armed force was equally “look­ing up to your re­port to help re­store the con­fi­dence of Nige­rian cit­i­zens in our mil­i­tary.”

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