16 April 2014

Nigeria: 15 Feared Killed in Fresh Violence in Wukari, Taraba

About fifteen persons were killed in a fresh round of violence in Wukari Town of Taraba State while several property were also destroyed, residents have said.

A known resident, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES over the phone but sought anonymity for security reasons, said sporadic gunshots were heard from Monday night to early Tuesday morning.

There has been tension between the native Jukun and Hausa residents in the town since May last year when violence erupted between the former and non-Jukuns following a scuffle during the burial of a prominent Jukun leader. About 39 people were killed and 30 others injured during that crisis.

A witness said yesterday's crisis followed a reported invasion of a Jukun village of Nwunkyo-Kura allegedly by Fulani herdsmen.

"The village is very close to Wukari and words got to the Jukuns that it was under attack, so some of their fighters went there to support the villagers and in the end some of them were killed," he said.

He also said seven persons were killed in the village and when some of the corpses were brought back to Wukari, it raised tension among the Jukuns.

"There was pandemonium when they saw the corpses and the violence that followed led to the dead of three persons and from there violence took over throughout the night," he said.

Security agencies have imposed a restriction of movement in the area to curtail the violence; while more military and other security officials have been deployed there.

The spokesperson to the Taraba Acting Governor, Kefas Sule, told PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone that the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, in charge of zone 7, Mohammed Abubakar, and the state Commissioner of Police, Kalafite Adeyemi, are already on their way to the Wukari.

"They are going there to hold a meeting with security agencies on the ground and do an on the spot assessment of the situation," he said.

Mr. Sule added that the state government will wait for the return of the top police officials and get their report before releasing any statement on the matter.


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