The death toll in weekend’s Tiv farmers’ killings in Taraba State has risen to 42, it was learnt yesterday.
The hacking to death of the farmers by suspected Fulani militia in Gassol Local Government Area has spilled to many Tiv villages, in spite of police and military presence in the area.The meeting by Commissioner of Police Yunas Babas, State President of Tiv Cultural and Social Association (TCSA) Goodman Dahida, President of Fulani’s Miyati-Alla, the Lamdo Gassol and security agencies to broker peace was fruitless
Police, soldiers, Dahida and the Senior Special Assistant to Taraba State Governor, Hon. Jerry Tyolanga, confirmed the rise in death toll.
Tiv homes were set ablaze, with smokes still billowing when n visited the troubled area yesterday afternoon.
Six persons were gunned down in Sabon Gari; 16 were slain in other villages. Among them were three women, eye-witnesses said.
Four trucks conveyed bodies, which were killed. The bodies recovered from the “bush villages”. They were being taken to neighbouring Benue State.
There was mass exodus of Tiv from Dan-Anacha –fleeing Taraba to Benue State where a bulk of their ethnic group resides.
The displaced persons looked frustrated, most of them carrying heavy loads, children and domesticated animals but without transportation fares. Some were loudly crying and wailing over the loss of their loved ones.
The renewed attack and killings of Tiv farmers began on Saturday in Dan-Anacha, whose name was recently changed to Kwararafa, as the state was busy at a “Peace Concert” in a stadium in Jalingo –the state capital – organised by Governor Darius Ishaku.
Police spokesman David Mishal, who confirmed the killings, was still being expected to brief the press on the details yesterday.
He described the incident as “undercover attacks where you invade someone’s home and attack him when there is no war going on”.
Governor Darius Ishaku is seen by the Tiv in Taraba as a peace maker. They held a meeting in Jalingo yesterday on the killings, which are raising national concerns.
The Tiv community alleged that yesterday’s killings followed a meeting between the Lamdo Gassol and the Fulani militias. “The meeting started by midnight and lasted till 4:00am when the militias began to invade Tiv homes,” one of the displaced farmers, who is injured, said.