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Suspected Fulani militants kill DPO, 30 ors, raze 4 villages

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The suspected Fulani attackers raided four villages killing scores including the DPO – eyewitness; another eyewitness said that the attackers were members of Boko Haram.

An armed fulani herdsman

A group of Fulani militants numbering in hundreds overran the villages of Koh, Ndikajam, Tabongo and Jat of Girei Local government Area of Adamawa state.

The attackers were reported to have killed over 30 people including a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Vunokilang Police Station.

They were alleged to have been brutally killed in an early morning attack by the militants.

Confirming the killings, spokesman of the State Police Command, DSP Othman Abubakar said the DPO and his team were attacked while on official duty in the affected villages where he was killed.

Abubakar added that report at his disposal indicated that the attackers looted, destroyed food stuff and maimed livestocks of the villagers before setting the villages ablaze,

“The suspected Fulani attackers raided four villages in Girei local Government area on Sunday morning around 5:30a.m., killing scores including the late DPO,” Abubakar said.

The late DPO, CSP Okezie Okereafor, who was just two months old in the command, was said to be ambushed when he was leading his men to the disputed area and he eventually lost his life in a shootout with the attackers.   

The corpse of the slain Police Officer and remaining civilians are currently deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.

The source said, prior the attack, there has been a lingering crisis between some Fulani Herdsmen and farmers in the areas which he believed must have influence the attack.

He said there has been a lingering threats on the communities razed down by herdsmen who allegedly wrote letters to these communities that they were going to launch an attack on them.

However, the elders of the areas were said to have reported the matter to security agencies in the state about two weeks ago so that something be done to avert the attack.

One of the Elders of the affected areas , PP Elisha, said if the security agencies had acted swiftly as earlier alerted by the elders that there may be an attack,  they could have stop the attacked.

However, he said they thank God that the military have sent their men to chase out the Herdsmen’s machineries adding that several people have been killed while five villages were burnt down by the Herdsmen.

Elisha, who visited some injured victims of the attack who were immediately evacuated to Specialist Hospital  and Federal Medical Centre in Yola by relatives, lamented that presently there is serious pandemonium in the affected areas adding that many people in the affected areas including areas that were not attacked have fled their homes for fear of future attacks.

However an eyewitness had earlier told our correspondent that it was Boko Haram insurgents that attacked the five villages at 7:30 am of Sunday (today) morning due to the nature of the attack which he alleged is similar to Boko Haram mode of operations or attacks.

The eyewitness claimed that many people were killed and injured in the attack; however,  he could not give the exert figure of casualty.

He said soldiers sent on immediate spot assessment were wounded and chased back by the attackers.

The eyewitness also alleged that the attackers have kidnapped the DPO of Vinikilang adding that a Hilux van full with cattle and food items belonging to the attackers was captured by the natives of the area.

Another eyewitness, who simply identified himself as Haruna, said he can swear with his life that the attackers were members of Boko Haram, adding that he was sure that the Herdsmen may have drafted the members of Boko Haram to help them to fight the natives of the affected communities.

“l narrowly escape from the hands of the attackers,” he said.

When asked whether the attackers were herdsmen or Boko Haram, he said “we have been living together with these Fulanis, and we know them but the people that attacked us were strangers.

“I  believe that the Fulanis in our area drafted some strangers which we believe are members of Boko Haram because we have been having unresolved problems with them which had led to the death of some people in the past,” he said .

The Acting Brigade commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade in Yola, Col ABA Popoola confirmed the attack that resulted to the killing of several people and razing down of five villages.

He said everything was under control as he said he has deployed his men to those areas to cordon the area.

Popoola said the fight was between the herdsmen and farmers in the affected areas but did not reveal whether some of his men were wounded.

Checks revealed that the attackers have been repelled by the military and most of them have escaped into nearby bush some kilometers to Sambisa forest.

By Tom Garba in Yola


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