No fewer than 20 Tiv farmers were yesterday killed in Dan-Anacha, Gassol Local Government area of Taraba State by suspected Fulani militias.
The killings took place as the state was busy at a “Peace Concert” in a stadium in Jalingo –the state capital – organised by Governor Darius Ishaku.
Dozens of other farmers were severely injured in the attack.
Some sources said Fulani marauders on Saturday afternoon invaded the Tiv community in Dan-Anacha, whose name was recently changed to Kwararafa, where they hacked down people. The hostilities lasted until yesterday morning.
Hundreds of Tiv residents have reportedly fled Dan-Anacha, although soldiers and policemen were deployed in the area to keep the peace.
Taraba State President of Tiv Cultural and Social Association (TCSA), Goodman Dahida, who met with security agencies and traditional rulers, said the bodies of 17 Tiv and two Fulani were recovered. The toll is likely to rise today.
“There are more bodies said to be lying in the bush which have not been recovered,” he said, adding that the killings were done with sophisticated guns.
Police spokesman David Mishal, who confirmed the killings to The Nation on the telephone, described the incident as an “undercover attack where you invade someone’s home and attack him when there is no war going on.”
He said he would release the “real details of the number of casualties,” to the media after conclusion of investigation by the police.
He said: “Yes; some unidentified groups of people, suspected to be Fulani, attacked Tiv in Dan-Anacha. We are trying to gather more information on the number of casualties.”
Gory photographs of Tiv farmers massacred in the “undercover attack” yesterday went viral on the social media particularly on Facebook.
Tiv farmers were killed massively by Fulani herdsmen between 2012 and 2014. The coming onboard of Governor Ishaku, who sued for peace and provided security, brought a near-end to the killings.
The displaced Tiv farmers have just returned to their homes to resume work on their farms when the Fulani opened a new chapter of hostilities against them yesterday.
TCSA President Goodman Dahida urged Ishaku to “do something urgently” to save the lives of hundreds of the Tiv farmers who have become endangered species in central Taraba.
Dahida posted on his Facebook wall: “What does a Fulani man want from a Tiv man for goodness sake? What are they gaining in the killings? Mr Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, these people are out again in their killing spree of Tiv people. Do something urgently or…”
There was a peace meeting in Dan-Anacha involving Dahida and other security agencies, reportedly at the prompting of Governor Darius Ishaku.
At the meeting were Commissioner of Police Yunas Babas, President of Fulani’s Miyati-Alla, the Lamdo Gassol, village head of Dan-Anacha, other Tiv chiefs, the divisional police office, the SSS and other opinion leaders.
The commissioner of police called for calm and truce, and created two camps for the displaced Tiv farmers.
Babas was seen stopping vehicles and asking fleeing displaced persons to return, with an assurance that they would be protected.