Residents flee Adamawa, after death of four police officers

Four operatives of the Police have been confirmed dead by the Adamawa State Police Command, after they were involved in a clash with gunmen in Numan Local Government Area.

According to the spokesperson for the police command, Othman Abubakar, who confirmed the incident to journalists on Friday in Yola, the state capital, said that contrary to widespread belief, those killed were not of the Mobile Police unit but officers from Numan Divisional Headquarters, who were on routine patrol.

Abubakar said, “We don’t want to work on speculations and I want to urge the public and media to shun rumours and speculations that would further raise tension in Numan and its environs.”

He, however, confirmed that speculation of reprisals had resulted in many residents of Numan fleeing their homes for Yola and other supposedly safe parts of the state.

A shop owner, Hanatu Pwavi, who was seen leaving the city, told Saturday PUNCH that rising tensions and looming threats of reprisals by armed Fulani men had forced many of them to abandon their homes.

Recent attacks in four Numan communities of Shafaron, Kikon, Bolon and Kodomti in Adamawa State, which claimed the lives of 55 Fulani herdsmen had attracted strong condemnation from the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, who, through the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, said the killing of Fulani would not go unpunished.

The Sultan’s statement was made shortly after the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, visited the Adamawa State Governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, and also met with the paramount ruler of the area, Col. Honest Irmiya (retd.).

While in Numan, Idris ordered the reinforcement of security to put a stop to the killings in the affected communities by sending in five units of mobile policemen and three Armoured Personnel Carriers.

However, the Brigade Commander, 23rd Armoured Brigade, Brigadier General Bello Muhammadu, who also confirmed the killing of the four policemen, said that they were killed by armed Fulani herdsmen that ambushed them.

He said, “When my men got there, they evacuated the bodies of the policemen. Even the trucks conveying soldiers were shot at by the herdsmen. We had to use rocket-propelled grenade before they ran away.

“What surprised me is the absence of women and children in the village; it was obvious that the communities had been evacuated preparatory to the action. There was no casualty on the side of civilians or the military. We saw about 16 persons who were armed with AK 47.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese and Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa State, Most Revd. Stephen Mamza, has blamed the rising tension in the state on comments made by the Sultan of Sokoto.

According to him, “The comment of the Sultan of Sokoto has actually increased tensions in Adamawa State. A highly placed religious leader like him is not expected to make such a misguided statement because this is not the first time we are experiencing killings.

“As a religious and spiritual leader, what I expected of him was to condemn all forms of killing and not to isolate this incident because Fulani were the victims. He is not the leader of the Fulani alone; he’s the leader of all Muslims.”

However, Chairman of Muslim Council, Adamawa State chapter, Sahabo Magaji, while speaking on the attack and tensions in the area, described the killing of Fulani as “ethnic cleansing carried out by Bachama militia”.

He said there was nothing wrong with comments made by the Sultan on the issue as it was aimed at pushing the authorities to apprehend perpetrators of the attack.

Magaji said, “He (Sultan) knows what is happening throughout the country, not just in Adamawa State. He must have had his reasons for saying that but I believe he said that for those concerned to sit up and do what is right.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )