Rising insecurity: District heads, scores feared dead as Fulani militia attacks Adamawa
The Adamawa State Police Command has confirmed attacks by rampaging Fulani militia on Dong and Lawura villages in the Demsa Local Government Area of the state.
They torched many buildings, scores were reportedly killed while many others fled the communities.
Although some residents fleeing the attacks claimed that a District Head and one other village head were killed by the gunmen, the police could not confirm the report.
The spokesman for the Adamawa State Command, Superintendent Othman Abubakar, though confirmed the attack on Monday in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, he did not give the casualty figure.
He did not also confirm the death of the two village leaders.
Abubakar said, “This morning (Monday) Lawura and Dong communities in Demsa Local Government came under attacks by gunmen, but our operations unit has yet to provide me with details of the casualty figure.
“But according to reports we are getting through third parties, we gathered that some of the villages have been razed to the ground. But that is all we have for now.
“The other issue we have before us is that some communities in Tabongo and Gereng in Girei Local Government area require police reinforcement.”
But the attacks on some villages, which entered its fifth day on Monday, witnessed air bombardment from the Nigerian Air Force who tried to halt the rampaging Fulani militia from entering into Numan.
One of the fleeing residents, who identified himself as Hebron Nzonzo, said about five villages had been razed to the ground.
Nzonzo said, “We were forced to flee this morning. Now almost five villages have been razed to the ground. Government has not deployed troops in the area. Instead, these villages have come under bombardment from NAF fighter jets, in Gyawana and Shaforon which were bombarded twice.
“The village head of Lawura was also killed in the attacks. The government has failed to either protect us or declare a curfew, which one would have expected under the circumstances.”
However, the Adamawa State Commissioner for Information, Ahmed Sajoh, who denied any complicity on the side of the state, said the government’s proactive response to the dawn attacks ensured that the rampaging gunmen were halted from entering Numan.
He said the government had been meeting to try to end the hostilities, adding that apart from additional police deployment, the Brigade Commander 23rd Armoured Brigade in the state had since relocated to Numan.
“This morning, we woke up to another attack, in Dong and Lawura unfortunately for the past five days no senior official of this government has slept, we have all been on the field. The governor was in Abuja to brief the President and Commander in Chief.
“The attackers were supposed to be marching to Numan but because of the meeting we had this morning they were halted. We are taking steps to make sure the situation does not escalate beyond those two places,” he said.
Sajoh also said the government would not allow anybody in the state to be harmed by any other person for any reason.
Explaining the deployment of air operations in curtailing the attacks, Sajoh said, “We are also aware that the Nigerian Air Force Commander has mobilised fighter jets, and got all the necessary approvals to give air support to the ground troops.”
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency on Monday said it had not received clearance from the military to enable it to deploy its officials in the area where suspected herdsmen clashed with police officers and residents in Adamawa State.
Although it was aware of the crisis in the area, NEMA said it would not be right and safe for emergency officials to visit the affected communities without appropriate clearance from the military.
When asked to state what the agency was doing as regards the crisis in Adamawa, NEMA’s spokesperson, Sani Datti, told one of our correspondents that “there is a need for clearance when it comes to issues like this.”
He added, “You are aware of how some police officers were attacked despite being armed. NEMA officials are not armed and it won’t be safe to just go in there without obtaining clearance from the military. So, we are waiting for clearance and that is the standard.”Punch