Again, communal clashes claim eight, many displaced in Taraba

Eight people are said to have been killed, property worth millions of naira destroyed and over three thousand people displaced in Bisaula and Gwanda communities, following a communal clash between Ichen and Daka people in Kurmi Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Dr. Bibinu Ahmed, President, Ichen Cultural Development Association confirmed that four of his people were killed, and his counterpart, Mr. Kefas Magaji of Chamba-Dakka also confirmed that one person was killed in Bisaula and three at Gwanda.

Our correspondent gathered that, trouble started in December last year when Ndaka people made attempts to install another village head in Bisaula and were resisted by the Ichen people who claim to be the original inhabitants of the area.

Briefing journalists in Jalingo on Friday, Dr. Bibinu Ahmed blamed the state government for the escalation of the conflict.

According to him, Governor Darius Ishaku had on the 28th December, called a meeting in Baissaula few days after the first attack on Bisaula and suspended the village head, Umaru Danbaki, who died 19 days after on January 16.

“After the suspension of the village head, the elders forwarded the name of Baba Umaru Gambo for appointment as the new Wakili (an Ichen man), but later the Local Government chairman sent the name of Mallam Rabiu, a Ndola man as the preferred candidate of the Governor as Wakili Bisaula.”

“Several Tigun and Ndola village heads have passed on in the past and nobody from other tribes was appointed Wakili in such places.

“The unprovoked attack on our people in Bisaula was based on fake stories that the Ndaka people conquered the area 200 years ago. This is unacceptable,” Bibinu said.

This is even as he accused the state government of abandoning the installation of an Ichen ruler in Kurmi Local government, stopping the selection process of village head of Zaga in Bali local government after the court threw out the application of the Chamba people, stopping the process.

Reacting to the allegations against Governor Ishaku, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said Governor Darius Ishaku is the governor of all ethnic groups in Taraba State and would not take side on issues affecting two or more ethnic groups.

He explained that the governor has access to information about the state more than any other person and when he takes decisions, such decisions are in the best interest of the state.

“He has worked so hard to bring peace to the state and he can not come down so low to take side with an ethnic group against the other. The Governor is too big for that and would not do things that would undermine him and his office,” Bala Dan-Abu said.

On his part, the Youth Leader of Chamba/Dakka in Bisaula, Mr. Kefas Magaji described the crisis as unfortunate and called on the government to investigate the remote cause of the crisis to restore peace in the area.

Magaji noted that the allegation that Chamba-Dakka people were visitors in the area was not true, adding that Bisuala was a Chamba word for a pond of the flocks.

“Bisaula is a Chamba word and the town was found by the Chamba people during their movement down south.

“We are peace-loving people and we don’t want crisis that is why since the year 2000, we have written several complaints against the suppression of the Ichen people against us in the area.

“Today, more than 3,000 of our people have been displaced, our plantain plantation and cocoa have been destroyed and people have lost sources of livelihood in the crisis.

“Government should intervene and investigate the remote cause of the crisis and know how best to restore peace,” he added.


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