Death toll in Taraba crisis rises to 40
The death toll in the renewed ethnic and religious crisis in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State has risen to 40.
It was gathered yesterday that tension is also mounting in Wukari and other neighbouring towns.
The crisis is r between Jukun/Tiv Christians and Hausa-Fulani Muslims.
It was learnt that the crisis is being fueled by heavily-armed hired mercenaries.
Trouble started when a Christian farmer and his son were allegedly attacked by insurgents suspected to be Muslims at the bank of River Benue.
The attacked persons, though seriously wounded, were able to swim to safety. The news of the attack led to bloodletting.
Taraba Police Command’s Spokesman, Joseph Kwaji, said police recovered 14 bodies, including two dead soldiers, when the violence died down.
But a resident told The Nation they recovered 28 corpses.
Eye-witnesses said over 40 persons might have been feared killed, adding that some of the bodies were yet to be recovered.
“Some residents are still missing as I talk to you. Some died in the hospitals, some were killed and their bodies thrown into the bush or river after a string of reprisal attack,” he said.
Sources revealed that soldiers, who arrived at the scene left almost immediately when two of their men were killed in cross-fires by the rioters.
More residents fled the troubled town yesterday after over 20 houses were confirmed torched.
But Kwaji said normalcy was beginning to return to the area.
The southern Taraba district, particularly Ibi and Wukari local councils, had been the news since the beginning of the year.
In June, over 100 persons were killed in a resurgence of violence in Ibi that spilled to Wukari.
No fewer than 500 persons were injured and many homes destroyed.
Senator representing Taraba south, Emmanuel Bwacha asked President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency to protect lives and property.