From Austine Tule, Makurdi
Not fewer than four persons were alledgely killed Monday morning at Jootar, in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue state.
The AUTHORITY gathered from eyewtness that people suspected to be Jukun militia stomed the border town at about 4:00 and shot sporadically, burning down several houses in the process.
The militia according to the eyewtness came from wukari in Taraba state fully dressed in military uniform and operated within an hour in which they carried out the act of infamy and left unchallenged.
When contacted the Chairman Ukum local Government Hon Tor-tyokaa Ibellogo who spoke through his special adviser on media and strategy Hon Godwin Iwanan said the renewed attacks were most unfortunate.
“the attack on Jootar is rather unfortunate, Benue State is not at war with Taraba State. So, the Jukun militia attack on Jootar, an Ukum town in Benue in the early hours of today leading to at least four deaths is reprehensible, condemnable, barbaric and idiotic”
According to the Ibellogo, the Jukun mission over the years has been to expel all indigenous Tiv people from Taraba, saying the Tiv in Taraba on the other hand were resisting the expulsion hence the attacks on them.
He informed that the Tivs in Taraba were only fighting for their rights as indengins of the state to remain where they belong stressing that they were bonafid indigenes and had nowhere eles to go to.
The caretaker chairman Iwanan added believed the attacks on Benue communties were a ploy to divert issues surrounding the Tiv indenginship question in Taraba State, been an internal one in nature
The former councillor Lumbuv council ward in Ukum LGA. said Tiv people of Benue State have over the years embraced the Jukuns in Benue, living happily with them at settlements like Abintse, Wurukum and others , expressing sadness that the Jukuns in Taraba were not reciprocating the gesture.
“The Tivs have no reason whatsoever to drive the Jukuns away from Benue and take their land as the Jukuns are trying to do in Taraba State and it is most unfortunate”
The council Boss however callrd on Tiv people especially those in Ukum to remain calm and avoid taking laws into their own hands even in the face of unwarranted provocations
He charged them to at all times report such heinous acts against them to security agencies.
He equally called on Jukun leaders in Taraba State emulate their Tiv counterparts in Benue and give peace a chance in Taraba.