Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
There is widespread tension and apprehension in Taraba as a helicopter allegedly loaded with a large cache of arms and ammunition last night landed in Jibu village along river Benue in Ibi local government area of the state.
Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu told our correspondent that the arms and ammunition are allegedly meant for a militia group that may be planning attack on Taraba villages.
“This system of arms delivery was used prior to the tragic attacks in Agatu communities in Benue State last year which led to the killings there.
“When it was reported, nothing was done to trace and arrest the owners of the helicopter. The strategy worked for them in Agatu and they are using it again today. This may be another planned militia attacks on the people of Taraba in the offing,” he said.
In a phone interview on Sunday, Member representing Wukari II Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Josiah Aji said he was also alerted of the development and had contacted the chairman of Wukari local government council, Mr. Daniel Adi to be on the alert and other security agencies to launch investigation into the allegation.
A resident of Jibu who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent in a telephone interview that a helicopter had late last year landed in the village, but that the mission of the helicopter had not yet been ascertained.
“There was rumor recently that arms were being ferried across river Benue in the area to Banteje, a town along Wukari -Jalingo road, but I can not confirm to you whether a helicopter landed in our village or not because I have been in Wukari town for the past two days.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, ASP. David Misal, dismissed the information as a mere rumor and caution against spreading fake information on the social media.
Misal said that the police surveillance team in the area has been directed to get to the roots of the matter.
“For now, the information remain a mere rumor, but we have our men there. As soon as we have further information about the issue, I will get back to you,” he said.
This is coming just days to the January 24th date for the full implementation of the anti open grazing law in the state and threats of bloodbath by some group who are averse to the law.