By Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Over Sixty persons are reportedly killed and thousands displaced with several villages burnt to the ground in a spate of attacks on communities in Ussa, parts of Takum and Yangtu Special development areas of Taraba state.
Mr Habila Timothy Anderifun, the member Representing Ussa state constituency at the State House of Assembly disclosed this on Saturday while addressing a press conference on the disturbing development in the area.
Anderifun who said that the attacks by suspected herdsmen intensified and have continued unabated in the last two months, wondered that the terrorists have continued to operate unchallenged in the same area that they killed about six military officers in an ambush.
“It is with pains in my heart and deep sense of responsibility that I address you today over the unprovoked attacks and sustained killing of the people of Ussa and parts of Takum Local Government Areas. For months now, the good people of Ussa whom I represent in the State House of Assembly and their kits and kins in so many communities in Takum Local Government area as well as Yangtu special development area have come under coordinated and sustained attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen (bandits) who have dislodged thousands of people from their ancestral communities and forced them into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
“Just this Thursday 22nd July 2022, Jenuwa Nyifiye village was attacked and no fewer than nine persons were killed. In the previous week precisely from 5th to 12th July, no fewer than 30 people were murdered. This is aside the six soldiers including the CO of Ada Barracks Takum that were killed by the suspected armed Fulani bandits in the area and others who have been killed in the past. Equally worrisome is the brutal manner in which the terrorists killed and maimed their victims.
“For now, we want the United Nations (UN) and the international community to turn their attention to ongoing killings (which can be likened to genocide) in Ussa and parts of Takum which is capable of wiping the entire people of Ussa out of the planet earth. The killings and mutilation of the bodies of the victims in Ussa constitutes crimes against humanity and we urge the federal government to take urgent steps to end these senseless killings expediently, for it is the primary responsibility of government to protect the lives and property of her citizens anywhere in this country.
“It is imperative to state here that today, communities such as Kujwean, Asik, Ripenchin, kutuko, Kusansan and in fact, the entire Kwesati ward, Lissam II, Yangtu and Bika among other communities have been deserted. Reports from these communities indicate that the deserted communities have been taken over by Fulani herdsmen who now graze freely on people’s farms and homes.
“Today, the humanitarian situation occasioned by the attack and displacement of the over 120,000 persons is pathetic and needs urgent intervention. We call on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the State Emergency Management Agency and other aid organizations and spirited individuals to intervene in the provision of shelter, protection, water, food and non-food relief items to address the growing humanitarian crisis the IDPs are now confronting.
“We are also calling on the State Government to set up a high Commission of Enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the Crisis with the view to finding lasting solutions to the conflict . This is very important because the Fulanis and the Kutebs have been living peacefully with each other over the decades until the recent ugly development. This could be the ‘hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob” he said.
The legislator further said that “the situation in the area could be likened to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and there are serious war crimes been committed. The only difference is the extent of brutality, cruelty and crudeness that sets the killings in Ussa area apart. This is genocide and if care is not taken, this will lead to total annihilation of the people”.