Gunmen Raid Villages In Taraba State

A group of gunmen has raided several villages in Gassol and Karim Lamido local government areas in Taraba State in Nigeria’s troubled northeast region, the Daily Trust Newspaper reports.

The newspaper reports that the gunmen particularly attacked Kambari town, a community close to neighbouring Plateau State. Dense forests surround the difficult to reach town and nearby communities, which make them havens for the gunmen.

The gunmen have reportedly attacked police facilities in the area, forcing personnel to abandon their posts. There are reports that the gunmen are raping young girls and women in the invaded communities. The report claimed that the bandits were also abducting residents.

Following the attacks on towns and villages in the area, residents in six towns and villages – Gwammo, Wurno, Tungan Kaya, Gidan Kawoyel, and Ali Kwala – have fled their homes to relatively safe communities nearby.

Residents of nearby communities such as WuroJam, Karar, Shika, Amar, Zip, WuruJam, Illela and Maigemu are worried the gunmen will raid their communities next.

An unnamed resident told the newspaper that residents are fleeing to the relatively safe Mutumbiyu town and other places as the activities of the gunmen worsen.

A resident of Kambari town said the town is now the operational base of the gunmen. According to the bandits, the gunmen are suspected to be from Zamfara and Katsina states.

“There is no presence of police and vigilante in Kambari. Terrorists are in total control of the town and they move freely with their arms,” he said.

A former resident of the area, who moved to Mutumbiyu town, said it is no longer safe to stay in the town.

“We are under siege; we need the government to intervene by sending soldiers to chase out the terrorists because they are regrouping every day and also recruiting our young men,” he said.

Soldiers confront gunmen

According to the report, soldiers were deployed to the Gassol town to kick out the gunmen and in the ensuing firefights, several of the gunmen were killed.

A resident of Gassol town, Rabiu Saidu, told Daily Trust that the deployment of soldiers in Gassol district has brought relief to the people.

He told the newspaper the soldier are forcing the gunmen to make quick retreats and many of them have moved out of the town.

Mr Saidu then called on the authorities to deploy soldiers to Kambari and other communities across the Benue River, which are under constant attacks by the gunmen.

The chairperson of Karim Lamido council, Markus Hamidu, did not answer calls or reply SMS sent to him on the issue.

The police spoke person of Taraba command, Usman Abdullahi, told Daily Trust he was not aware of any such attack.

“If it is true that terrorists have taken over Kambari town or any other village, why didn’t residents inform the police?” he said.

Though Taraba State is in the troubled North-east region, it has been spared the Boko Haram insurgency.

However, the agrarian state is a bloody theatre of pastoralists and farmer clashes. Violent communal clashes between Jukun and Tiv natives also plagued the state.

The report that the gunmen are suspected to be bandits, who have sacked several communities, killed thousands and abducted and displaced even more people in the Northwest, if true, would leave Nigerian authorities worried as it will mean an escalation of the still intractable conflicts in many parts of the country.