Taraba Crisis: Government demands release of culprits as more Fulani bodies found – I have reported perpetrators to authority, says Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

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Weeks after the killing of Fulanis in Taraba, a search team of security operatives, Fulani community leaders and journalists has discovered more mutilated bodies on the outskirts of Katibu and Donada areas of the state.
Speaking at the funeral of the six additional corpses, a Fulani community leader, Bello Babni Ja’e, called on the government to bring to an end the ethno-religious killings in the state.
“Corpses discovered include that of Ali Mahmud, aged 71; Baba Yaro, 70; Jauro Umar Tela, 43; Sanda Ahmadu, 42; Dija Abdu, 68 and Adama Ahmadu, 64.
“We totally condemn the ethno -religious killings been witnessed in our state Taraba,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the affected Fulani communities of Katibu, Baba Gasa and Donada in Lau Local Government Area of the state have cried that they were yet to receive any assistance from the state government.
A Fulani community leader, Muhammad Modibbo Ali, decried the situation where over 4,000 Fulanis displaced by the crisis were yet to get relief materials or assistance from the state government.
“For now, we people of Katibu, Baba Gasa and Donada are yet to get  any assistance from the state government. The government’s assistance was only sent to the other side, but Fulani communities were excluded.

Some displaced Taraba people

“In fact, it was only an NGO, known as Stop Genocide that came to our aid but up till now, the state government has not commiserated with the affected Fulani communities nor provided relief materials.
“This is unfortunate, and we urge government to treat us as equals. We are all citizens. The governor had earlier deployed more security and provided relief assistance to our brothers the Yandang communities.”
But in a swift reaction, the state governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan Abu, denied the allegations, saying that “Fulani people were not displaced’’.
“Let me first ask you: Do you know where the Fulani displaced people are? Donada and Abbare are not Fulani places. Where the (Fulani) displaced people? Because, I don’t know where these Fulani are currently camped and it is only when you know where they are, then you will start saying that they were not given relief materials; I don’t know whether Fulani people are displaced. If they were displaced where are they?’’
In a related development, Daily Nigerian, a reputable online medium, has come across a leaked letter in which the Taraba State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Yusufu Akirikwen, was urging the State Police Command to release arrested members of a local militia allegedly responsible for the killings of Fulanis on Mambila Plateau in Sardauna Local Government Area of the state.
In the letter to the commissioner of police, dated September 8, 2017, Mr Akirikwen faulted the arrest of the suspected members of the militia.

THE LEAKED LETTER




“Reports and/or complaints reaching my office, of recent, indicate that following the aftermath of the communal crisis on the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna Local Government Area which broke out between 17th-20th June, 2017, incessant, indiscriminate arrests, detention and prosecution of perceived suspects alleged to be involved in the said crisis is said to be carried out by your office,” the letter read.
According to him, since judicial commission of inquiry was instituted, and they were making inquiry on the issue, the arrests were “contempt and contradictory” to the judicial principle.
“It has been noticed that while the judicial commission of inquiry is ongoing, your Command has embarked on the arrest, detention, and prosecution of those allegedly suspected to be involved in the crisis by whatever yardstick; your action is viewed and does not only constitute contempt of matters that are sub-judice but also negate the cherished principle of double jeopardy in the event that the same person now being prosecuted by you are subsequently recommended by the commission to be prosecuted and punished,” the letter said.
He also noted that shortly before the beginning of the crisis, the federal government had set up the judicial commission of inquiry to prevent the breakdown of law and order as regards land dispute within the community to enable individuals and groups to ventilate their grievances before the judicial panel.
The commissioner, therefore, directed the commissioner to immediately release the suspects and withdraw charges against them.
“In view of the above circumstances and the interest of public peace and harmonious co-existence, it is my candid advice that all suspects in your custody and/or arraigned before the court(s) be forthwith released from detention, and all charges or First Information Reports brought against them withdrawn,” the letter said.
The recent Taraba crisis, which erupted on June 17, 2017 between local militia and Fulani sedentary pastoralists, had led to the loss of lives and property leading to the displacement of an estimated 17,000 Fulani’s from different communities.
Recently, the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi Lamido II, a patron of the Miyetti Allah, had claimed that over 800 Fulani herdsmen lost their lives as a result of the Taraba crisis.

HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

“In one case, a pregnant woman was killed, her stomach was ripped open and the baby was brought out and slaughtered. I personally handed over to the Federal Government a dossier with the names and pictures of the 800 or so people slaughtered as well as the names and addresses of persons known to have participated in these acts of ethnic cleansing.
“Nothing has happened. I also ensured that authorities received video and audio evidence of senior politicians in Taraba State, who were involved in this act of genocide. No one has been arrested. Fulanis were also murdered in Kajuru and Numan,” the emir said.

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