1,565 houses burnt, 15 died in Taraba crisis –Police

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Police in Taraba State have said that 15 people were killed while 2,130 were displaced in the two-day inter-tribal conflict that pitted the Jukun and Hausa communities in Wukari and Ibi local government areas of the state.

Conversely, more than 1,565 houses, four filling stations and five churches were burnt in the two-day mayhem.

Also, the acting Governor, Garba Umar, has given a marching order to the local authorities in the affected areas to maintain peace or face the music.

Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Joseph Kwaji, who spoke to newsmen on the crisis in Jalingo on Monday, said that four shops, eight vehicles and three mosques were also razed down.

Kwaji, while giving a breakdown of the casualties, said that the worse hit was in neighbouring local government area of Ibi where 11 persons were killed, 21 injured, 167 houses burnt and four churches completely burnt down.

Kwaji said that the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 3, Yola, Mohammed Abubakar, had carried out an on-the-spot assessment of the affected areas, describing the incident as unfortunate.

Kwaji said the team took its time to visit the two traditional rulers in Wukari and Ibi council areas and held discussions with them on the way out of the crisis.

He said that more security operatives had been drafted to the warring areas to maintain peace and order, stressing that the visit by top police officers in the state and zone, no doubt, had reduced tension that enveloped the area in the past three days.

He said shortly after discussion with the two royal fathers in their palaces and domains in Ibi and Wukari local government areas on Monday, the AIG further addressed youths in the area to lay down their arms in the interest of peace and development.

Kwaji said the AIG further reminded the youths on the need to tolerate one another, assuring them of police readiness to protect their lives and properties.

Wukari and Ibi local government councils have remained a ghost of itself as motorists and residents are busy relocating from those areas to safer places.

Meanwhile, Umar has directed local government chairmen to be security conscious and ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in their respective areas.

Umar gave the directive on Monday in Jalingo, shortly after an extensive security council meeting with both the traditional rulers and the council chairmen.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting that was held behind closed door, the acting governor further directed the council chairmen to ensure that traditional rulers in their respective areas were carried along in the fight against insecurity in the state.

He ordered the local authorities to hold monthly security meeting in order to address grey areas for timely intervention.

Umar stressed the importance of traditional rulers in tackling security challenge, saying they could not be ignored. He therefore directed that the royal fathers must be part of distribution of relief materials to displaced persons.

Hundreds of lives have been lost in communal strife in southern Taraba councils of Wukari and Ibi in the past three months between the Tiv/Fulani on one hand and the Jukun/Hausa community on the other. Properties worth millions of naira have also been lost in the crises.

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