The Fulani community in Sardauna Local Government Area, Taraba State, has accused the Mambilla people of committing ethnic cleansing against them, alleging that over 100 Fulani people have been killed in the past week.
This was announced in a press statement released by Fulani elders in Jalingo, Taraba State on Wednesday, who said that hundreds of Fulani villages on the Mambilla Plateau were raided by members of the Mambilla tribe on the orders of Sardauna LGA Chairman John Yep.
The elders said that Mr. Yep ordered a militia to kill Fulani people following the arrest of Umaru Cid, a ringleader of the Mambilla militia in Nguroje, over a land dispute.
“On the 16th of June, 2017 security personnel moved in the early hours and affected some arrests in Nguroje during which some suspected ringleaders of a group that has been fomenting trouble in the area got into the net of the security.
“On getting information about the development, the Chairman of the Local Government, Mr. John Yep, immediately led some Mambilla youths to storm Nguroje alleging that the arrest was instigated by the Fulani. This led to a total siege on Nguroje and its environs,” the elders said.
They alleged that Mr. Yep then broadcasted a radio message throughout Taraba State instigating violence against the Fulani.
“What followed thereafter was a coordinated and simultaneous attack on over 300 Fulani communities,” they said.
According to the elders, the killing has been ongoing for four days now, with over 130 Fulani persons missing. They added that 4,000 of their cows had been either slaughtered or stolen.
The elders therefore called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in order to ensure the safety of the Fulani people and their property.
“It has become necessary to call on the Acting President to as a matter of urgent National Security evoke the relevant sections of the Constitution and also do the needful by declaring emergency rule to allow for full fledged emergency services and the protection of our remaining people,” they declared.
The elders also called on the United Nations to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the killings.
Premium Times reports that the spokesman of the Taraba State police, David Misal, addressed journalists on the matter, saying that the violence was caused by the arrest of a Mambilla man, presumably the aforementioned Umaru Cid.
“The children of the Mambila man went to the home of the complainant, who is a Fulani man by name Mr. Riwi Ahmadu and demanded for the release of their father or else they threatened to deal with him.
“When the demand was not met, they actualized their threat by setting ablaze the house of the complainant and inflicted injuries on him and property worth millions were destroyed,” Mr. Misal said.
He assured reporters that the police have since arrested those who attacked Mr. Ahmadu and that they are investigating others complicit in the violence.
While the elders reported that over 100 people were killed, Mr. Misal said there were seven confirmed deaths.