At least 40 people were killed when suspected Fulani herdsmen sacked two villages of Dori and Mesuma in Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba State, attacking people and burning houses.
Although authorities could not yet ascertain the cause of the killings, sources revealed that the herdsmen ignited the crisis “when their kingpin was prevented from raping a woman.”
According to the Taraba State Police Command, however, only 15 persons were killed in the attacks.
While briefing newsmen on the incident yesterday, the Taraba State Commissioner of Police, Shaba Alkali, revealed that the herdsmen lunched the coordinated attacks on the two villages on Sunday at about 11:00 hrs.
“A group of people, numbering about 20, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, invaded and attacked Dori and Mesuma villages via Garbabi ward, Gashaka Local Government Areas, and burnt some thatch houses, forcing the villagers to flee into the villages of Mayo-Selbe and Sabon Gida for safety,” the CP said.
He added: “Eight people were killed in Dori village, while seven were also killed in Mesuma,” Alkali stated that when he got the report of the attacks from the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Serti, he quickly mobilised his men and deployed them to the area. Alkali lamented that it was “tough for the operatives to get to the affected villages as there were no roads to be accessed by the policemen with their vehicles.”
He said the deployed operatives had to spend several hours trekking before they reached the villages. He added that over 40 cal contracts for goods and mobile policemen were redeployed from Yola, Adamawa State capital, to the state for enforcement in the areas. The CP said that the police detectives have cordoned off routes linking the affected places with a view to arresting the fleeing culprits.
“My detectives are around Bali area to make sure that those that carried out the attacks are arrested,” he said. According to him, two suspects in connection with the Dori and Mesuma killings have been arrested.
Similarly, the Taraba Police Commissioner paraded one Ardo Ayuba Iliyasu, 52, as the mastermind of the Dori and Mesuma attacks. The CP said Iliyasu convened a meeting of a large number of persons in his house at Garbabi village few hours before the attacks were launched.
But when interviewed by journalists, the suspect denied involvement in the killings. Gashaka is one of the most peaceful local governments in Taraba State. Dwellers of the local government have been living in harmony for years.
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