No Government Official Has Visited Us, Say Girei Fulani Attacks Victims

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Minister of Interior, Bello Dambazzau
Minister of Interior, Bello Dambazzau

By Tom Garba, Yola
A week after over 80 persons were allegedly killed by armed Fulani herdsmen who attacked Koh, Taboungo, Ndikajam and Demsare settlement in Girei Council of Adamawa State, no federal or state officials have visited the traumatised communities, survivors have claimed.
Some of the villagers who suffer various degree of injuries lamented this development during interviews with The Dream Daily, stressing that they were currently going through untold hardship caused by the attackers and official negligence thereafter.
Anthony Chema, one of the survivors of the attacks who has since returned to Koh, said women and children have been asked to remain on the islands where they are taking refuge, for fear that their assailants might return.
Narrating their ordeals, Anthony said “the attacks appeared to have had the approval of key organs of government,” noting that more than a week after the attacks no government official had visited their communities “nor has any relief been brought by aid agencies in the state to cushion the deprivations being experienced by us, the victims.”
He added: “These attacks have exposed the hypocrisy of the government. The state government and other organs of security in the state had turned their eyes the other way. So that our people will be maimed and cleansed by the Fulani. But since that has failed, the state government has refused to come to our aid nor has it bothered to see the extent of the destruction caused by the attacks.”
Kpana Goron Chief Kef Garkuwa, the traditional head of the Bwatiye communities, also decried the state government’s neglect, noting that the communities had continued to discover more dead bodies of missing persons with 46 additional corpses found in the bush.
Stressing that the Bwatiye people and their Fulani brothers in the area have co-existed for decades peacefully despite recurring clashes between the farmers and the herdsmen, he however wondered why it would now be different, given the scale of the destruction of lives and property unleashed in the mayhem.
Investigations revealed that since the attacks on Koh settlement and nearby Bwatiye villages of Taboungo, Ndikajam and Demsare, the state government appears undisturbed about the incidence, because no aid or relief has been given to the survivors of the attacks.
Survivors have accused the government of ignoring them since no government official or any of the security agencies have visited the area. Over 200 women and children displaced from the affected communities, taking refuge on the neighbouring islands adjoining Koh, Taboungo and Ndikajam are threatened by starvation since their food supplies were completely destroyed in the attacks.
Many of the victims, mostly women and children who have taken refuge on the island and are living outside in the open without shelter. They said the absence of beddings and clothings which they left behind when they fled the attacks has caused many of the children to contract pneumonia as a result of cold.
Investigations also revealed that the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police (CP) Ghazzali Mohammed and his military counterpart in the state are yet to make any deployment of security personnel to the affected communities.
Youths in the affected communities can be seen wielding dangerous weapons on patrol to protect the women and children.
But District Head of Girei, Dr. Ahmed Mustapha said Governor Jibrilla Bindow had assured them, at a security meeting convened by governor, that relief materials would be taken to the victims of the attacks.
However, one of the victims Mrs Mavis Eliphas Ndikajam who said she lost her husband in the attacks, said they were yet to receive any form of assistance, adding that they have gone on for days without food.
Her words: “This is my fourth day of going without food. We have also been sleeping in the bush for the fourth day running with our children. This cloth I have on me is the only one I had when we fled the attacks with my children but their father wasn’t lucky as he was killed. We have no food to eat, we would like the government to come to our aid.”
But a source who pleaded anonymity claimed that the Deputy Governor, Martins Babale, with some donor agencies have distributed relief materials in Hayin Gada, a settlement in Girei Council, which is close to the state capital, Yola.
The source said: “May be they had an intention of going to the communities but something else came up.”

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