By Winifred Ogbebo, Abuja
A registered charity organisation, The Pastoral Resolve (PARE) has expressed shock and disgust over what it described as the ongoing carnage in most parts of the Mambilla Plateau in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State, saying that over17,000 cows have been killed and 583 houses razed, with scores dead.
This is even as it called on the federal government to urgently constitute a search and rescue team to save the lives of children, women and old people trapped in the various villages throughout the local government.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the acting executive director, Saleh Momale, said hundreds of people have been killed, while the whereabouts of thousands of family members, including women, children and the aged are unknown.
He said, “houses belonging to all Fulani people within the areas of the local government dominated by the Mambilla tribesmen were looted and burnt. Indeed, no house was spared in the rural landscape from Nguroje to Dorofi.”
According to him, in the midst of the calamities, the Taraba State Government has shown no interest in stopping the arson and destruction as no efforts have been made to deploy police to the affected areas to contain the violence.
“The state government albeit reluctantly imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew which locked everyone else indoors in the major towns, while allowing the militia free movement to continue unleashing the orgy of violence throughout Fulani settlements outside the urban centres.
Momale also incriminated the chairman of Sardauna local government, who he said, notwithstanding the violence, failed to call people to order, but rather continued with inciting utterances in the local radio station at Gembu in his native Mambilla language.
In addition, he said the chairman suspended all vigilante groups that were attempting to contain the activities of the recalcitrant mobs and directed police authorities to arrest any vigilante seen trying to stop the carnage.
Calling for massive deployment of troops into the area, The Pastoral Resolve (PARE), noted that the only intervention that halted the escalation of the violence to the urban areas was the deployment of the military by the federal government, but which was too inadequate to secure the vast areas of the Mambilla Plateau.
“As a consequence, the Fulani herders in the rural areas were left at the mercy of the irate mobs, who unleashed an unprecedented level of terror never witnessed in the history of civil disturbances in Nigeria.”
Momale lamented that the deafening silence of the national and international media as well as human rights advocates and organization has also been alarming, saying, “the few media organizations that reported the matter indicated an insignificant level of conflicts unlike the media hype over so-called attacks by suspected herdsmen.
“The media went silence in the wake of attacks on herdsmen.”
The acting executive director, The Pastoral Resolve (PARE) said though they have constituted an emergency rescue and support team to assist in rescuing the trapped victims of the violence, they appealed to the military command and other security agencies in the affected areas to assist the team in repatriating other victims of the carnage trapped in the rural landscape of the Mambilla Plateau.