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Published On: Tue, Jun 17th, 2014

Crisis: Hundreds flee Wukari

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Boko Haram MenaceFrom Ayodele Samuel, in Wukari and Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo

 As curfew imposed on Wukari and other southern parts of Taraba state intensify, residents in their hundreds have begun to flee to nearby villages in Benue state.

Also, six victims with various degrees of injuries from the ethno-religious crisis lost their lives at the state’s Specialist Hospital, Jalingo

Some residents who spoke to our correspondent have accused security operatives of taking sides during last Sunday’s crisis. A resident said locals live in fear of reprisal attack, saying, “We don’t know what might happen because the tension is very high in the villages and the army cannot assure us of safety because of their role in the last Sunday attack”.

Our correspondent observed large number of the residents, mostly women and children, heading to Zaki Biam, along the Katsina-Ala Jalingo highway.

Meanwhile, the Taraba state acting governor, Alhaji Garba Umar has called for calm, calling on the warring parties to bury their hatchets and chart a cause of peace.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the acting governor, Kefas Sule stated that security operatives have been restricted by the military until normalcy is restored.

It further stated that preliminary findings indicate that the outburst of the violence was as a result of the negative activities of some youth groups in Wukari and Ibi local government areas.

According to the release, the acting governor has ordered the proscription of all youth groups in Wukari and Ibi local government areas, while security agencies have been directed to ensure the enforcement of the ban.

The statement also said the state government will pay the medical bills of the victims in all health facilities, as efforts are being made to convey relief materials to the affected communities.

Our reporter who visited the emergency unit of the Specialist Hospital reports that doctors and nurses were seen attending to serious cases to save lives and unless feeding and medication were provided urgently, more deaths will be recorded.

Some of the victims told our reporter that they were taken unawares because they were in their various places of work when they were attacked.

A former chairman of Wukari local government area, Danladi Shehu, who expressed concern at the incessant conflict between those he described as brothers, appealed for patience.

Efforts to contact the Chief Medical Director of the Specialist Hospital for comments failed, but a nurse, who preferred anonymity, said there was no directive from the state government to treat victims free but that they were just offering First Aid.

Our correspondent also reports that most of the vehicles that brought the victims were attacked on their way to Jalingo and their windscreens destroyed.

Hundreds of sympathizers were seen trooping to the Intensive Care Unit of the Specialist Hospital to identify relatives.


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