20180408

Current Military Operation In Taraba A Failure — Residents

Residents of the Takum and Donga Local Government Areas in Taraba State have described the renewed attacks and killings in the state by armed herdsmen as a confirmation of the alleged failure of the military operation in the state.

Some of the residents, who spoke to Punch, explained that a former Defence Minister, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), was right when he called on the people to rise up and defend themselves against the killers.

Mr. Sunday Musa, a resident of Mbiya village on the outskirts of Takum, where a family of four was killed by armed herdsmen on Wednesday night, expressed disappointment over the failure of the military to stem the tide of killings in the state and called for an end to the exercise.

Musa said, “We are ready to defend ourselves but the military won’t allow us. They are arresting our people holding cutlasses and knives, while they allow Fulani herdsmen, armed with sophisticated weapons, to continue with their attacks and killings unhindered.

“We want an end to the army operation ‘Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race)’ so that we can devise ways to deal with the situation.”

Mr. Tsokwa Mairogo, another resident of Muji, which was also attacked two weeks ago, lamented the continued onslaught on their communities despite the presence of the army in the state, calling on the Federal Government to end the killings.

He said, “These killings are becoming too much. Nobody is safe in Taraba because the attackers have taken over most of the communities.

“These continuous attacks have lent credence to Gen. Danjuma’s statement that people should rise up and defend themselves. There has not been any arrest since the attacks started.”

A youth leader in Takum, Mr. Emmanuel Umaru, said many residents of the town were disappointed in the army’s “consistent indifference” to the volatile security situation in the state.

According to Umaru, the attackers, who would invade Takum and Ussa through Danjuma’s farm near Tati, have been carrying out the attacks unhindered.

He said, “The Chairman of the Takum LGA, Mr. Shiban Tikare, has, on several occasions, told the military where the attackers could be apprehended but the soldiers have consistently ignored the intelligence information.

“What is happening in Takum and Taraba generally is ethnic cleansing. The attackers are killing children, women and men. We totally agree with Gen. TY Danjuma that we need to defend ourselves. But since we don’t have AK-47 rifles like the attackers, we have resorted to being vigilant, which is also part of self-defence.

“Schools in the affected communities have been closed and the communities deserted. We want the army to refocus their operation and get these attackers arrested so as to prove to the world that they are not colluding with the people killing us as alleged by Gen. Danjuma.”

Mr. Iorwa Benedict, who fled Utile village in the Donga LGA during an attack, alleged that the killers were camping in the forest, stretching from Suntai Daaji, Donga LGA to Tati, Takum LGA, and appealed to security agencies to comb the forest and flush out the attackers.

According to him, if security agencies dislodged Boko Haram from Sambisa Forest, it will take them less energy to dislodge the attackers hiding in a small forest in Taraba and killing people on a daily basis.