No fewer than ten persons were Tuesday killed in a fresh communal clash between Fulani and Tiv indigenes of Taraba state.
Hostilities started when the body of a Fulani man who had been declared missing by his relatives was found dead in a bush between Serkin Gudu and Dooshima villages of Ibi.
A Fulani source accused Tiv of being responsible for the death of their kinsman, whose corpse was recovered by the Nigerian army personnel posted to quell communal uprisings in the area.
The source added that the “gory sight” of the deceased Fulani man infuriated the Fulani community who went for a reprisal attack on the Tiv community killing nine in separate attacks.
Taraba State Police spokesman Joseph Kwaji, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), confirmed the violence to The Nation, saying nine Tiv persons were killed in a retaliatory attack by an unidentified Fulani man.
Kwaji said: “The information I have here is that, a Fulani man was killed when his cows feasted on farm crops belonging to a Tiv man.
“An unidentified Fulani man, in a reprisal, killed nine Tivs.”
He said police were deployed to the area to maintain law and order, while making efforts to arrest the culprit.
But the Chairman of Tiv Culture and Social Organization in Ibi, Mkavga Orhembaga, an eye-witness, said among the nine killed, eight were Tiv while one an origin of Plateau state.
“Eight Tiv persons were attacked and massacred in the afternoon while working on their farms.
“Another person, a teacher from Plateau State who teaches in one of the primary schools in the troubled village was also killed by Fulani,” the Tiv Culture leader said.
“It was reported that a Fulani man was missing. So the army and his brothers went out to search for his whereabouts.
“Soon his body was found laying dead in the bush. The development angered the brothers of the deceased Fulani and the entire Fulani community.
“Angry with the Tiv people in the area, they picked up arms against them. It was in the afternoon when Tiv people were in their farms that they attacked them and killed eight in the process.
“As I speak to you, three Tiv persons are still missing. We don’t know whether they are laying dead in the thick bushes or whether they are on the run.”
Tuesday killings were said to have baffled Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, coming shortly after he had inaugurated a committee to return all crisis displaced persons, particularly Tiv, to their homes.
The governor also directed traditional rulers to keep watch on their subjects to avoid reoccurrence of any communal offensive within their respective domains.
Ishaku also said, in search of peace, he had held; “collaborative meetings with the governors of neighbouring Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states, on the incessant inter-state border community clashes, spate of armed robbery and the clandestine ethnic killings.”
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