Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
At least eight persons are confirmed dead and several others severely injured by savage herdsmen who attacked villages around Danacha in Gasol local government area of Taraba state on Monday.
One of the deceased, Chief Hembaor Baki, who was the chief of Angwan Hembaor, was killed alongside his wife and two children on their farm, while four others were killed in the neighbouring Dinya village, also on their farm.
An eyewitness, Mr Benjamin Orakaa, who spoke to Daily Sun from Danacha, said that the tension in the area was too much for the people to move in to ascertain the actual number of deaths.
“Zaki Hembaor was with his wife and two children on the farm this morning when they were attacked and killed, and four other persons were killed on another rice farm in Dinya where they were also farming. Several persons have been rushed to Danacha with severe injuries,” the witness said.
“For now, the herdsmen are still there shooting everywhere and people have deserted their homes and everything to run for their dear lives; so we can not even go back there to know how many persons are dead. We have only recovered these four bodies so far,” he said
Orakaa said that so far security operatives manning checkpoints in the area remain on their duty posts and other security vehicles have been seen on the highway, yet shooting in the villages have continued unabated.
Chairman of Gassol local Government Council Hon. Yahuza Yaya’u confirmed the attack in the area but said no life was lost.
“Nine people, mostly women, were badly injured and we are making efforts to take them to the hospital,” he said.
“The problem started in Dongon Ruwa and six women and three men were badly cut at the point of death, but no life was lost.
However, another eyewitness, Mr Terkimbi Tahav, who said he escaped death by the whiskers, told Daily Sun on the phone that he and others were in the farm at Dinya village in Gassol local government when nine armed Fulani men riding on three motorcycles came and forced them out of the farm.
“One of them told us that the land we were farming on was sold to them by the village head of Kwararafa (Dekechin Kwararafa), Alh. Ibrahim Isah,” Tahav said, recalling the incident.
“We were shocked and tried to resist their attempt to chase us out of our farm, but they started attacking us with cutlasses and we ran for our dear lives.
“It was when we were running for safety that we discovered four of our relations dead on their farm. They had killed them earlier before proceeding to attack us.
“It’s only God that some of us are alive to tell our story,” said the witness.
The state Police Public Relations Officer ASP David Misal said he was yet to be briefed on the attack.
Herdsmen had only last week attacked a minor seminary in Jalingo, where they shot a priest, as part of a sustained attack on mostly farming communities across the state and region.