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Military berated before probe panel for colluding with killer herdsmen

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Sylvanus Viashima,  Jalingo

The chairman, Taraba State Council of Chiefs and Aku Uka of Wukari, Dr. Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi. on Monday told the probe panel investigating TY Danjuma’s remarks that Nigerians have lost confidence in the military.

The monarch disclosed this when he received the Army Probe Panel investigating the allegations of  military collusion with armed bandits in attacking innocent citizens in Taraba and other parts of the country at his palace in Wukari.

Retd. Gen. TY Danjuma had recently accused the Armed Forces of colluding with bandits to kill Nigerians, urging people to rise up and defend themselves.

The Aku Uka said Nigerians have lost confidence in the military in spite of their track record of successful peace missions in other parts of the world.

“Nigerians have lost confidence in the military because they now see the military as a security threat rather than those maintaining security. I want to remind you members of the panel that Nigerians who are crying for justice are expecting much from you, so also the Armed Forces who are looking up to your report to help them restore our citizens’ confidence in the Nigerian Military,” he said.

Masa Ibi added that “as umpire, Nigerians expect you to be just and fair in your assignment and only a fair, just and transparent report of your panel can restore the lost image of the military.”

Earlier, Chairman of the Probe Panel, Retd. Maj. Gen. Joseph Nimyel, sympathised with the Aku Uka over the loss of lives and destruction of property as a result of the series of crisis in the region.

He informed the monarch that the panel was in the state as an independent body to investigate allegations of collusion leveled against the military by Retd. Gen. TY Danjuma.

Nimyel said the panel will report its findings to Army Headquarters Abuja, the Taraba State Government and the Federal Government with a view to helping the authorities in their future dealings.

Presenting the position of the Wukari traditional council before the panel, the adviser to the Aku Uka on Media and Legal Affairs, Barr. Danjuma Adamu, said the high expectations of the people of the area upon the deployment of Army on Exercise Ayem Akpatuma have not been met as the attacks and killings were still ongoing.

Adamu, citing several cases of alleged military collusion, noted that on several occasions the military deployed to the crisis areas refused to act in the defense of farming communities, despite of the many pleas by the council chairman and the traditional council, giving credence to insinuations that they are on the side of the killer herdsmen.

“On 10th April, 2018, Gbeji was attacked and five people were killed. On the same day Sontyo village was attacked and destroyed by herdsmen who took over the village and grazing there as their permanent abode.

“The following day, 11th April, 2018, Fulani militia attacked Jandeikyula village killing over 25 people. The soldiers and policemen attempted to confront them, but the militia escaped without a single attacker arrested.

“On October 19th, 2015, armed Fulani militia attacked Sondi in Kente district killing 30 people, adding that residents of the village said soldiers deployed to the area aided the militia in the execution of the pogrom.

“On the whole, 200 people have been killed between April 2013 to date, 401 villages destroyed,  thousands wounded or maimed and farmlands destroyed within the local government alone.

“The Fulani herdsmen have illegally and forcefully taken over the areas and turned them into grazing fields,” he submitted.

While alleging that the attacks and killings were meant to wipe out the indigenous occupants of the area to pave way for full Fulani occupation, the Wukari traditional council appealed to the Federal Government to give the crisis the seriousness it deserves.

Chairman of Wukari local government council, Hon. Daniel Adi, in his submission to the panel, also alleged the complicity of the military in the killings in the area and enjoined the panel to check with the Police Area Command in Wukari for some of the case files involving military personnel aiding the movement of the attackers.

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