Unknown gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have invaded Numa village in the Andaha community of the Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The attack occurred on Sunday, whereby the herdsmen killed 16 people, including a 100-year- old man, during a naming ceremony.
The people killed were from the Mada ethnic group in the state. It was learnt that the suspected herdsmen raped a Mada girl to death. The senator representing Nasarawa North senatorial District at the National Assembly, Philip Gyunka, who confirmed the incident to The PUNCH in Akwanga, the headquarters of Akwanga Local Government Area, stated that the victims, comprising a man, his wife and their son, were killed during the attack.
Gyunka, who described the killings as unfortunate and barbaric, said, “The unfortunate thing is that the victims-the father, mother and their boy-were killed. A pregnant woman was involved in this attack. An aged person, above 100 years, was also involved in the attack. They did not spare women or children and these were the people that didn’t have arms.” He said he recently moved a motion on the floor of the Senate calling on the Federal Government to establish a military base in Akwanga.
Gyunka said, “You can see the increase in kidnappings and robberies on the Akwanga – Abuja Road. This is as result of people moving with weapons unchecked.” Also, the Paramount ruler of the Mada, HRH Samuel Gamu-Yare, in an interview with one of our correspondents said 16 persons were killed during the attack.
He said, “We have 16 deaths while several others were critically injured. The attack on this community occurred within a short period. The militias met people during the naming ceremony and they resorted to sporadic shooting.
“It is quite unfortunate and devastating that a peaceful and law-abiding community like mine, which over decades have never involved in skirmishes either internally or externally, would be attacked by Fulani herdsmen when in a celebratory mood.”
The Commissioner of Police, Nasarawa State Command, Mr Bola Longe, could not be reached on the phone as of the time of filling in this report neither had he responded to a text message sent to his mobile phone. Herdsmen abducted 67 Taraba residents in five months.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 67 persons have been kidnapped and several others killed in Taraba State between November 2018 and March 2019 in Lau, Jalingo, Donga and Takum Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State.
The Caretaker Chairman of Takum Local Government Area, Shiban Tikari, told The PUNCH in a telephone interview that 35 people had been kidnapped in his local government area from November to date.
Also, the Chairman, Donga Local Government Area, Nashuka Ipeyen, said nine persons were kidnapped in the area between January and March this year. It was learnt that six persons were reportedly abducted by gunmen in Jalingo Local Government Area within the period.
Though the Jalingo Local Government Caretaker Chairman, Abdulnaseer Boboji, told one of our correspondents that he would provide the official figure after cross-checking his records, he never did as of the time of filling this report.
However, a senior official in the council, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that six people, including the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Darius Ishaku; a prominent civil servant and the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Jalingo branch, were kidnapped in Jalingo.
In the Lau Local Government Area of the state, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria in the area, Rev. Fr. Sunday Patrick Muke, said 17 people were kidnapped from Lau between November 2018 and March, this year.
Some residents, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the wave of kidnapping and killing in the area, blamed politicians for the rising insecurity. A resident of the Takum Local Government Area, Mr Musa Tsokwa, lamented that if adequate measures were put in place after the kidnap and subsequent killing of a lawmaker, Hosea Ibi, the problem would have been solved.
He said, “Other than tackle the issue and properly address it, the first high-profile kidnapping in the state (Hosea Ibi’s case) was shrouded in secrecy and a particular tribe was stereotyped as brains behind the evil when it was clear that other ethnic groups were also involved in the crime.
“Has anyone cared to know why all of a sudden kidnapping has become so lucrative in Taraba? Most kidnappings in the state go unreported and the state government has not done enough to address the issue.”
Taraba not silent over killings, kidnappings – Dan Abu. The Taraba State Government has denied allegations that it was silent over the killings and kidnappings in some parts of the state.