Police in Taraba State have confirmed that an army officer, Lt col Eminike, is missing while six soldiers and a mobile police officer were killed during a bloody clash between Kutep and Fulani herdsmen at Tarti area in Takum Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, DSP Usman Abdullahi, disclosed this to Daily Trust in Jalingo Wednesday.
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He said Eminike was the commander leading operations in the trouble area.
The killing came one month after three policemen were killed in Takum during a clash between Kutep and Jukun during Kutep’s annual cultural festival.
Abdullahi alleged that Kutep and Fulani militia were responsible for the killings of the soldiers and the mobile policeman.
He said more soldiers and policemen had been sent to the area to restore peace while the search for the missing army officer had intensified.
Abdullahi said militia from both sides had engaged one another over the weeks and the situation worsened on Tuesday, leading to the deployment of more soldiers and policemen.
He, however, said the number of people killed during the clash could not be immediately ascertained.
But Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (APC, Taraba South) yesterday raised the alarm that over 40 persons were killed during the Sallah break by terrorists in the southern part of Taraba State.
Bwacha, who spoke at the plenary yesterday, said the attackers came on motorbikes and killed the people, including soldiers and policemen mobilised to protect the community.
He consoled the security agencies over the loss of their men while appealing to the federal government to direct the relevant agencies to provide relief materials to the victims of the attack.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan called on Nigerians to support the military by providing the needed motivation and information to enable them to tackle insecurity in the country.
Also speaking at the plenary yesterday, a member representing Wukari/Ibi Federal Constituency of Taraba State in the House of Representatives, Danjuma Shiddi, said the village was razed by the rampaging bandits who maimed and displaced hundreds of locals.
He said many communities in Takum had come under heavy attacks by bandits, the latest being the Tuesday attack on Tati village during which the six soldiers and a policeman were killed.
He expressed concerns that the bandits in their large numbers were increasing their reach and destabilizing more parts of the country hence the need for reinforcement to tackle them.
In its resolutions, the House of Representatives urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to deploy more personnel to secure Takum LGA and adjoining communities in Taraba State which had come under siege by bandits.
It also urged the intelligence agencies to fish out the sponsors of bandits, and the National Emergency Management Agency to assist members of the affected communities.