Hamman Adama lost four of his sons in an attack that claimed nine Fulani men in Yorro Local Government Area of Taraba State. They were reportedly attacked by armed men from Mumuye.
Adama, who spoke for the affected families of the attack, alleged that it was well planned and executed by the elite of the Mumuye tribe. He wondered why the attack occurred since there was no clash between farmers and herdsmen in the area.
He disclosed that on that fateful day, he noticed an unusual movement of people in the area. He added that some of the people he saw were strangers who were brought in from different places. According to him, there was no misunderstanding between the Fulani in the area and their neighbours, the Mumuye.
Adama further said that while going to Pantisawa town at 1pm on that day, he noticed that all the people from the Mumuye tribe in the villages along the road were in war mood, with many of them carrying bows and arrows and some holding guns.
He said he was wondering what his neighbours were up to until one of his sons, Jibril, put a distress call, informing him that the Mumuye had surrounded their houses with dangerous weapons. According to him, when he got to his community, he met hundreds of Mumuye men and other strange persons who were armed with bows, arrows and guns. When he approached them, he was told that his cow damaged a phone belonging to one of them.
“Immediately, I realised that the story of a cow damaging a phone was cooked up to justify an attack on the Fulani community,’’ Adama said. He, however, said that when he approached Mumuye elders to intervene, it was agreed that a new phone would be provided as a solution to the impending face-off.
He further said that he immediately headed back to Pantisawa to report the matter to the chief of Mumuye, Alhaji Ado, the local government council chairman and the Police Divisional Officer (DPO).
“On reaching Pantisawa I informed the Sarkin Fulani, Alhaji Abubakar Bello and chief of Mumuye about the situation in our community, and he immediately rushed to the police divisional headquarters to inform the DPO. To our surprise, the DPO refused to take action, even when there was another distress call received in his office, that Mumuye people were about to attack the Fulani community.
“We even offered to fuel police vehicles in order to convey policemen to our community, but the DPO refused to act. At this point, another distress call came from one of my sons, that they would be killed if there was further delay “he alleged.
He said that at about 7pm, one of his sons, Inusa, who luckily escaped through the mountain, informed him that all his brothers were murdered.
Adama said he saw people from Jalingo, Pupule and other surrounding villages among the attackers. “In fact, some people I know were among the attackers.
“We all agreed to provide a new phone and l rushed to Pantisawa to inform the chief of Mumuye and the police. But before l came back, six persons were hacked to death, and four out of the six are my sons,” he lamented.
He said they had lived together with people of Mumuye for several decades and they never had any misunderstanding, either on land matters or personal issues until recently when some people came and instigated unprovoked attacks.
Also speaking, the Sarkin Fulani of Yorro and a title holder in Mumuye chiefdom, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, said that although the Fulani community knew it was not true that a phone was damaged, they agreed to buy a new one so as to put the matter to rest. He wondered why the people of Mumuye breached the agreement and killed innocent persons.
He said that bodies of the dead victims were conveyed to Jalingo and buried while the entire Fulani community fled and are taking refuge in Jalingo and other places.
Bello lamented that journalists were not on ground to cover the burial for the whole world to see. “Similarly, there was no statement from the Taraba State Government to condemn the killing.
“Several members of our community, including women and children, were affected, but the government did not care to provide any relief for victims who were forced to flee their homes,” he lamented.
He gave the names of those who were killed as Jibril Hammadu; Albasu Hammadu; Mustpha Hammadu; Dahiru Umaru; Isiyaka Ali; Hamman Adama; Bello; Musa; Suleiman Baba.
When contacted, the special assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on media affairs, Mr Bala DanAbu, said he was not aware of the killing.
A brother to one of the victims, Mallam Faruk Aliyu, said it was unfortunate that killings were being encouraged in parts of Taraba State. He alleged that those arrested were forcefully released from police facilities. He said that in Yorro, three suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of a Fulani man, but Mumuye people invaded the police station and freed the suspects. He further alleged that in Zing town, the people of Mumuye invaded a police station and a magistrate’s court and burnt them down, simply because some suspects were arrested. He alleged that those in government were encouraging some ethnic groups to live above the law.
When contacted, the spokesman of the police, Taraba State command, ASP David Misal, confirmed the attack in Yorro, saying that five people were arrested in connection with incident.