The death toll in the attack on Taraba communities has risen to 17, following fresh attacks on Maigoge and Maihula in Bali Local Government Area and Ananum and Akate communities in Donga LGA which claimed additional six lives.
Residents said four persons were killed in Maigoge and two in Akete villages of Bali and Donga LGAs, respectively.
This is even as residents of Maihula in Bali Local Government Area said gunmen from Wurbo community attacked and burnt their community on Saturday.
Pastor Nathaniel Amah whose house was razed during the attack on Maihula told our correspondent that many houses were destroyed.
“My family escaped death by a whisker, but the entire village has been razed. All our belongings have been burnt in the attack suspected to have been carried out by Jibawa (Jukun) militia.
“We are calling on the security agencies to stop the escalation of the attacks as lives and property are being wasted,” he said.
Caretaker Chairman of Bali Local Government Area, Mahmud Musa told Sunday PUNCH that four persons were killed in the attack at Maigoge.
Musa added that six houses were burnt in the attack which happened on Saturday morning.
He, however, said he was not aware of the attack at Maihula.
He noted that an 11-man peace and reconciliation committee had been set up to restore peace in the area.
“We just finished a security meeting where all the stakeholders have agreed to work towards peace.
“But the only thing that will calm the situation now is the deployment of security. We have deployed civil defence personnel in Maigoge, but we need more security men.
“I have communicated with the Deputy Governor, Mr Haruna Manu, on the need for the deployment of security and we do hope he will do the needful,” he said.
Meanwhile, a resident of Akate, Mr Yakubu Ali, said two persons were killed at Tse Mende and Iornem villages close to Akate in Donga council.
Ali said gunmen in their numbers also attacked Ananum village and burnt the remaining structures still standing after the first attack on the village last month.
But the Donga Caretaker Chairman, Nashuka Ipeyen, said only one person was killed in the attack near Akate.
He denied knowledge of the attack on Ananum, saying, “I am just hearing of the attack on Ananum from you. Nobody has informed me about the said attack on Ananum.
“Just this morning, Tiv people attacked and killed one person in Akate. It’s unfortunate that Tiv people don’t want this crisis to end.
“They have been attacking Jukun communities since the last peace meeting. Even when our youth want to go on reprisals, we stopped them,” he said.
But in a swift reaction, the President of Tiv Youth Council, Kelvin Katyo, accused Nashuka of speaking only for the Jukun “as if he was the Chairman of Jukun and not the people of Donga.”
He added, “Nashuka is an interested party and has turned himself into a Jukun youth leader. Why is he always not aware anytime there is an attack on a Tiv community?
“Nobody is happy with what is happening. It’s now clear that the agenda to evict the Tiv from Taraba (State) has reached an advance stage and we are calling on the Federal Government to intervene before we are wiped out of Taraba.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP David Misal, could not be reached to confirm the reported killings at the time of filing this report.