The tension in Sardauna Local Government Area is so palpable residents believe a knife can tear through it following fears that the Fulani are plotting a reprisal attack on the Mambilla people after the last crisis led to the loss of lives, especially among the Fulani.
There have been snippets of information, it was gathered, that the aggrieved Fulani have reached out across the borders to their kith and kin lo hit back at the locals for decimating their numbers in the local government area.
Security agencies were not available for comments, though the State Government is believed to be aware of the information. Governor Darius Ishaku is said to have made a report in that direction.
An insider said that the Fulani in the area have allegedly spurned all efforts to make peace between them and the Mambilla people.
It was learnt that while the Mambilla leaders have continued to meet to find ways of resolving the crisis, the Fulani have stopped attending any peace meetings.
A highly placed source confirmed that credible security reports indicate that a massive recruitment had commenced with the Fulani getting prepared for a reprisal attack.
“This is the third time they are rejecting all attempts to sit with them at a peace meeting. If they are invited they would say they are waiting for Miyetti Allah to tell them what to do. It means they don’t take any directives from the state government, but only from Miyetti Allah. And this is also after the governor (Darius Ishaku) had sat with all of them recently to fashion ways for peace. They agreed only for the Fulani to pull out”, the source said.
The source said the Taraba state government has been sufficiently alerted of the recruitment going all.
The source added: “There are only two percent Fulani on the Mambilla Plateau. They know they are outmatched but now they have to go recruit from outside. They went to one state in the North East to pick militias. They would also get reinforcements from Chad and Cameroon.”
It was however not clear to if the nation’s security agencies were aware of all the reprisal attack plans.
Governor Ishaku recently said he had intelligence reports of such attacks and had reported to the appropriate quarters.
Last month, in a report on sahararepoters.com, the Fulani accused Mambilla people of embarking on ethnic cleansing.
In a press statement by Fulani elders in Jalingo, Taraba State, according to the online newspaper, they alleged that hundreds of Fulani villages on the Mambilla Plateau were raided by members of the Mambilla tribe on the orders of Sardauna LGA Chairman John Yep.
The report reads further:
The elders said that Mr. Yep ordered a militia to kill Fulani people following the arrest of Umaru Cid, a ringleader of the Mambilla militia in Nguroje, over a land dispute.
“On the 16th of June, 2017 security personnel moved in the early hours and affected some arrests in Nguroje during which some suspected ringleaders of a group that has been fomenting trouble in the area got into the net of the security.
“On getting information about the development, the Chairman of the Local Government, Mr. John Yep, immediately led some Mambilla youths to storm Nguroje alleging that the arrest was instigated by the Fulani. This led to a total siege on Nguroje and its environs,” the elders said.
They alleged that Mr. Yep then broadcast a radio message throughout Taraba State instigating violence against the Fulani.
“What followed thereafter was a coordinated and simultaneous attack on over 300 Fulani communities,” they said.
According to the elders, the killing has been ongoing for four days now, with over 130 Fulani persons missing. They added that 4,000 of their cows had been either slaughtered or stolen.
The elders therefore called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in order to ensure the safety of the Fulani people and their property.
“It has become necessary to call on the Acting President to as a matter of urgent National Security evoke the relevant sections of the Constitution and also do the needful by declaring emergency rule to allow for full fledged emergency services and the protection of our remaining people,” they declared.
The elders also called on the United Nations to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the killings.
Premium Times reports that the spokesman of the Taraba State police, David Misal, addressed journalists on the matter, saying that the violence was caused by the arrest of a Mambilla man, presumably the aforementioned Umaru Cid.
“The children of the Mambila man went to the home of the complainant, who is a Fulani man by name Mr. Riwi Ahmadu and demanded for the release of their father or else they threatened to deal with him.
“When the demand was not met, they actualized their threat by setting ablaze the house of the complainant and inflicted injuries on him and property worth millions were destroyed,” Mr. Misal said.
He assured reporters that the police have since arrested those who attacked Mr. Ahmadu and that they are investigating others complicit in the violence.
While the elders reported that over 100 people were killed, Mr. Misal said there were seven confirmed deaths.