Residents of Shinkai Village in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State have fled their homes following a threat to raze down the village over the alleged killing of a soldier.
According to Malam Labaran Abdu, the leader of the community, armed men in military uniform stormed the village on March 24, 2019 and alleged that one of their men was killed in the suburb of Shinkai and his rifle taken away.
“The community leaders in Shinkai told the armed men that they knew nothing about the incident, but they threatened that they will wipe off the village if the killers and the stolen rifle were not produced within three days,” Abdul told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday.
“As a result of the threat, residents of Shinkai and surrounding villages have crossed over to Awe, Tunga, Terkura and Lafiya in the neighbouring Nassarawa State to take refuge,” he said.
Labaran said the incident the armed men claimed had led to the death of their member took place about 15km away from Shinkai, and wondered why the people of the area should be made to bear the burden.
Reacting to the incident, Simon Dogari, Taraba State Information Commissioner, told NAN that he had received reports that there was tension in Shinkai village after a clash between herdsmen and some armed men believed to be soldiers from “Operation Whirl stroke”, who were on special patrol from neighboring Benue State.
He said the report had claimed that there was a clash between the two groups, which left “one man with uniform dead”.
Dogari, however, wondered why the suspected military personnel, whose operational area was Benue State, had crossed into Taraba State and clashed with herdsmen.
He said that a Special Adviser to Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and the Chairman of Wukari Local Government Area have been asked to investigate the issue and report back.
The Commissioner appealed to the people of Shinkai and its environ to remain calm as the state government was working round the clock to nip the problem in the bud.
Similarly, Bala Dan-Abu, the Senior Special Assistant to Ishaku on media, who described the death of the military man as unfortunate, urged the authorities to follow due process in redressing the issue.
Dan-Abu said: “Two wrongs cannot make a right.
“Instead of attacking the village, thorough investigation should be carried out to identity the suspected killers.”
He called for calm among all concerned, saying all hands were on deck toward resolving the matter through dialogue.
Efforts to speak with the Police authorities in Taraba State proved abortive, but a senior official of the command said the matter was being investigated.