How military freed Taraba villages captured by terrorists | Dailytrust

How military freed Taraba villages captured by terrorists

Parts of Kambari town hit by air force during strike on terrorists’ bases in the area
Parts of Kambari town hit by air force during strike on terrorists’ bases in the area

Rural communities in Gassol, Karim Lamido and parts of Bali local government area have been under the siege of terrorists for the past three months.

The terrorists kidnapped over one hundred people and killed several innocent villagers as well as attacked and killed many people who were praying inside mosques in Tella and Baba Juli towns.

They also killed the village head of Karal as well as 30 vigilantes at a forest near Karal village in Gassol Chiefdom. They also killed 15 vigilantes at Illela village near Zip town in Karim Lamido Local Government Area.

They invaded Binnari and killed a village head and many people. All these killings and abductions of innocent people, including house wives, occurred between last quarter of 2021 and this year.

Daily Trust Saturday finding revealed that activities of the terrorists worsened across both sides of the River Benue in Gassol and Karim Lamido local government areas early this year, when the terrorists took over control of Kambari town and other villages. They also established their operation bases at a forest near Kambari town.

The terrorists, Daily Trust Saturday gathered, became lords to themselves as they moved in their numbers freely with their arms. They forced the police out, while the vigilantes became useless in the areas they controlled.

The terrorists crossed from Wase area in Plateau State while others relocated from Zamfara, Katsina and Nasarawa states.

Kambari town and all the villages located at both sides of the River Benue have no access roads and are surrounded by thick forests, which provided a hiding place for the criminals. 

“The terrorists invaded our area in their numbers and forcefully slept with our girls and house wives. They take whatever they want from shops without paying,” a resident said.

Another resident who would not like his name mentioned told Daily Trust Saturday that many people in the area were forced to relocate to Mutumbiyu town because there was no freedom and safety of lives and property.

He said the few policemen in the town and other areas as well as vigilantes had escaped, leaving the area without police, vigilantes or court.

“We were at the mercy of these terrorists as they recruited many young men as their informants and shared ransom with them, while some shop owners became their agent for transferring ransom. They collect money from the terrorists and transfer to their accounts in Mutumbiyu and Jalingo,” he said.

Another resident who fled to Mutumbiyu told Daily Trust Saturday that places like Zip, Illela, Gwammo, Gidan Kawoyel, Sheka, Amar and Tungan Kaya were all under the control of the terrorists.

He alleged that those that the terrorists recruited were involved in all the atrocities committed in the area and they benefited in monetary terms despite the fact that the victims were their relations and family members.

Another resident told Daily Trust that the terrorists have a good network of informants far and near, and they always have first hand information of movement of security agents into the area.

“It was unsafe for all residents including farmers and fishermen in these areas because the activities of the terrorists had overwhelmed the entire area and no help came until last week,” he said.

He said that to the surprise of people in Kambari town, few hours to the arrivals of Air Force planes into Kambari areas, the camps of the terrorists were deserted.

He however said the sustained air strike launched by the air force and ground forces operation resulted in the killing and arrest of the terrorists and some of their informants who are indigenes of the area.

“The terrorists had in the early hours of the day of the airstrike moved to a place called Bangala —a border town between Taraba and Plateau states, but they were neutralized with many of them captured,” he said. 

Another source told Daily Trust that the area had been a safe haven for the criminals because of the difficult terrain.

“The difficult terrain, the thick forest and lack of access roads made the area a safe haven for the criminals over the years,” he said. 

He however revealed that residents of the area have made several appeals to authorities to take action and flush out the criminals but their appeals were never attended to until recently when about 147 persons were killed in Plateau State.

“This type of operation should be sustained. The Air Force should be conducting air surveillance around both sides of River Benue and also around all the forest and mountains area in Taraba to avoid the terrorists setting up another camp in the area again,” he said.

Some residents interviewed on telephone commended the operation launched by the air force and ground forces.

They applauded those that ordered such operation, adding that the area had become the operational base of terrorists for a long time and appealed for the establishment of a permanent military base in the area to forestall reoccurrence.

However, the military operation did not come with innocent casualties. Daily Trust Saturday gathered that five innocent persons, including an elderly woman, were killed in Kambari town while some houses belonging to people not involved in the terrorists’ activities were also burnt down. 

Findings also revealed that about seven persons were killed by the Air Force planes during the airstrike around Kwatan Nanido and Benbel River.

Daily Trust Saturday could not get the spokesperson of Nigeria Air force for comments over the air strike they launched in Kambari axis.

However, the spokesperson of Taraba Police Command DSP Usman Abdullahi confirmed that there was an airstrike by the Nigeria Air Force in Kambari area but it was purely an Airfare operation and he would not comment on it.

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