Barely 10 hours after Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, raised the alarm over an impending attack on the state, gunmen numbering about 20 last night attacked and killed four persons in Ngutswen village of Gassol Local Government Area of the state.
Narrating the incident, Mr Tyav Ngutswen, who is the surviving eldest person in the village, said the heavily armed attackers numbering over 20 stormed the village around 10pm and opened fire, killing four persons. Ngutswen said there was a misunderstanding between a Tiv man and a Fulani cattle herder over the destruction of yams by the Fulani cattle a day before the attack, adding that the matter was resolved when the cattle owner was made to pay N40,000 for the destruction. According to Ngutswen, after paying the money the herdsmen vowed to make life uncomfortable for the people of the village. He said the gunmen who were all speaking Fulani language invaded the village about 10 pm the following day and engaged the villagers in sporadic shooting, thereby killing four persons.
He said: “We were already asleep last night around 10pm when the gunmen numbering over 20 came into our village and started shooting with sophisticated weapons. “As the people were running into the bush, four of our people were killed among them a man and his wife. This year alone, about 10 persons from this village have been killed.
Two weeks ago, herdsmen came with their cows and ate some of our yams that have been harvested and stored. “As peace loving people, we engaged them in dialogue and they had to pay a compensation of N40,000. They vowed to pay us back and have made good their promise by this attack.” In the same vein, the Chairman of Tiv Social Cultural Group in the council, Mr. Zachariah Terhile, said it was unfortunate that the police were treating the case as a mere robbery despite evidence to the contrary.
Terhile expressed regret that efforts to stop the continued attacks and killings of his people by herdsmen in conjunction with the police and the Chief of Gassol had not yielded any meaningful results as they seemed non committed to the cause. When Saturday Telegraph visited the village, most of the people had already moved their belongings out of the village and were burying the dead amidst tears and obvious sorrow. When contacted the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), David Misal, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), confirmed thawt killing and said it was a robbery attack.