Benue, Taraba border crisis: 3 feared dead in renewed attack on Tiv by suspected Jukun militia
No fewer than three persons were reportedly killed on Wednesday morning in Jootar, a border settlement between Benue and Taraba States, by people suspected to be Jukun militia.
According to a local who spoke to BusinessDay, the suspected Jukun militia stormed the border community through Wukari at about 4:00am, dressed in military uniform, and started shooting sporadically.
The source said the latest attack came without any provocation, confirming that at least three Tiv farmers lost their lives while over 100 houses were razed. He valued properties destroyed during the attack to be in millions of naira. Jootar was attacked in July last year by suspected Jukun militia, killing four persons without any arrest made by the security agencies.
The source told BusinessDay the attackers operated unchallenged for about three hours, even though Federal Government special forces are stationed in Wukari, 2 kilometres away from the attacked community.
Catherine Anene, police public relations officer, Benue Police Command, confirmed that three corpses were recovered at the scene and that investigation into the matter was in progress.
Tortyokaa Ibellogo, caretaker chairman of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, condemned the attack in its entirety, saying it was most unfortunate.
He wondered why the Jukun militia would cross over to Benue where there is no crisis, insisting that Tiv farmers in Benue were not at war with the Jukun.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is supposed to be a crisis between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba State and has nothing to do with Benue. In my state Benue, we have Jukun in Abintse and Wurukum in Guma and Makurdi living peacefully with the Tiv people,” Ibellogo said.
“I want to call on the inspector general of police (IGP), chief of army staff and president of Nigeria to, as a matter of urgency, intervene in this crisis. Already, we are trying to maintain social distance to face the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected Benue, Nigeria and the entire world,” he said.