Jukun-Tiv crisis: More villages burnt as community leaders trade blames

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At least, seven villages were burnt on Saturday and hundreds fled into Benue State following attack and counter attack in the ongoing Jukun/Tiv crisis.

Special adviser to the Governor of Taraba State on Students Affairs, Samson Tor-musa, who hailed from the area, told BusinessDay that Jukun Youths in the early hours of Saturday burnt Tar-Orshi, Ikyaan Gbaki, Orlumun Nege, Tor-Musa, Ioryina and Kashuan Shanu villages.

The Special Adviser said Chonku, a border village between Taraba and Benue, was also burnt in the early hours of Saturday.

Tor-Musa, who said he was yet to get the casualty figure in the latest attack, appealed for calm from both sides.

Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, David Misal, who confirmed the latest attack said there was no casualty figures.

Meanwhile, the Council chairman of Wukari Local Government in Taraba, Daniel Adi, and his counterpart in Ukum Local Government in Benue State, Iber Logo, have continued to trade blames over the ongoing communal crisis between Jukun and Tiv ethnic groups.

Adi told our correspondent that the Chairman of Ukum local and the Traditional Ruler of Ukum knew the bad boys that were attacking Jukun villages in Taraba, but that they were not ready to fish them out.

“Our people have realised that there is no need fighting the Tiv people, but the Tiv people have continued their onslaught on Jukun villages.

“The chairman of Ukum and his Chief knew the boys doing this, but they don’t want to fish them out.

“Tiv youths in the early hours of today (Saturday) came and burnt down Chonku village. I want to appeal to the Chairman of Ukum and the Ter Ukum fish out these youths and disciplinary actions taken against them in the interest of peace,” he said.

But in a swift reaction, chairman of Ukum Local Government Council in Benue State, Iber Logo described as laughable the allegations against him by the Chairman of Wukari Local Government.

According to him, during the peace meeting at the Palace of the Aku Uka in Wukari the chairman said to the hearing of everybody that they had problem with the Tiv people in Ikyaior and Gbor-Gbor all in Wukari local government area of Taraba State.

He explained that the only point where the people of Benue came in was when Jukun youth from Kente invaded Tse- Atsenga in Benue and burnt the entire village, burning an aged woman in the house.

“It was after the attack on Tse Atsenga that I called the chairman of Wukari and we met at Kente. But unfortunately the Chairman came with armed Jukun youths and dropped them at Igbogom Village and while we were holding the peace meeting at Kente, Jukun Youths started shooting and I made efforts to leave, but be pleaded.

“After the meeting, a Jukun girl was caught in the bush and I prevented the girl from being harmed. I personally presented the girl to the Aku Uka of Wukari during the peace meeting at his palace. If I don’t want peace, I would have been making all these efforts,” he queried.

Logo said the attack on Chonku was carried out by criminals who want to cause confusion to continue their looting business, saying investigations were on to ascertain where the criminals came from with a view to apprehending them.

He however, expressed disappointment that instead of finding out what really happened, Jukun Youths attacked and burnt Tiv villages stretching from Federal University Wukari to Chonku on Saturday.

“The Chairman himself told me that they (Jukun) had problem with some Tiv villages in Wukari so why blame me. If we want to fight with the Jukuns is it Chonku that will be attacked at the detriment of Jootar, which is an economic hub of our people? Our children are schooling at Federal University Wukari and we won’t like to risk their lives.

“The attack on Chonku was purely an act of criminality and we condemn it in strong terms. I am doing my investigation and if truly those that attack Chonku are from Benue we will fish them out,” he said.

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