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96 dead, 800 families displaced by Bauchi crisis

BY suzan edeh
BAUCHI—Sayawa communities of Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa councils in Bauchi State, yesterday, claimed that over 96 of their sons and daughters were suspected to have lost their lives in the violent clash that broke out in Tafawa Balewa last Thursday.

One of the survivors in Tafawa Balewa, Luka Chongda  Godiya  said, “more than 800 families have been displaced while other members of our community are yet to return from wherever they ran to when the crisis broke out on January 24.  We were taken unawares by our attackers in the early hours of that Thursday.”

Godiya, who said he was speaking on behalf of his people, however, said  “the attackers also sustained some injuries in the cause of attacking our Sayawa brothers and sisters here in Tafawa Balewa.”

An honourable account

His account came on the heels of a report credited to Mr. Aminu Tukur, a member of Bauchi State House of Assembly representing Lere Bula who alleged that 31 persons were buried, weekend.

Tukur told reporters in Bauchi that 31 dead corpses  of the people killed in last Thursday’s crisis were buried,  but declined  to give  their identities.

According to him: “On the first day, the communities buried 21 people and on the second day, buried six and four people separately while some of the corpses were burnt beyond recognition.”

Seventeen corpses, the state lawmaker claimed, were recovered  from Bogoro area, while thousands of people were displaced.

Police disagree

However, Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Indabawa, insisted that the joint security operations in the troubled spot recovered only 25 dead bodies after search.

He said: “Searches have revealed more dead bodies. Some of them could not be recognised as they were completely burnt.

“Besides, more people are returning home. Even today a Fulani herdsman returned to Tafawa Balewa unhurt with his children and cows.”

“As Iam talking to you, peace has returned to Tafawa Balewa and the people have been advised to go about their lawful
Indabawa also said more suspects have been arrested and the number has risen from the initial 18 on the first day to over 38 and would be charged to court for .

Assuring that peace has returned to Tafawa Balewa town, he stated “as I am talking to you, peace has returned to the area as people can now go about their legitimate social and commercial activities; we have our men(armed police and soldiers) on the ground to ensure  peace reigns”.

But on Monday when Vanguard visited Tafawa Balewa to assess the situation, only stray goats, ducks, few dogs, chickens and the armed security operatives made up of police, soldiers and the state Security Services were at peace with each other contrary to the earlier security reports that peace had returned.

Just as social and other commercial activities in Tafawa Balewa and its environs have at least temporarily stopped.
A stakeholders meeting was held at Government House where Gov.Yuguda charged the warring Muslim and Christian communities to appoint 5 persons each to fashion a road map for peace in the area.


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