From Tom Garba, Yola
A group of Fulani militants in their hundreds overran the villages of Koh, Ndikajam, Tabongo and Jat of Girei Local government Area of Adamawa state, killing and maiming the villagers and others
No fewer than 30 people killed were killed in the attack, including a Divisional Police Officer(DPO) in charge of Vunokilang Police Station in Girei Local Government Area Adamawa state who was alleged brutally killed in the early morning attack.
Confirming the killings, spokesman of the state Police Command, DSP Othman Abubakar said the DPO and his team were attacked while on official duty in the affected villages.
Abubakar added that report at his disposal indicated that the attackers looted the foodstuff and livestock of the villagers before setting the villages ablaze.
“The suspected Fulani attackers raided four villages in Girei local Government area on Sunday morning around 5:30 am killing scores including the late DPO,” Abubakar said
The DPO, late CSP Okozie Okereofor, who was just two months old in the command was reportedly ambushed as he led his men to the disputed area and lost his life in a shootout with the attackers.
The remains of the slain police officer and those of civilians were deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.
The source said, prior to the attack, there has been a lingering crisis between some Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the areas which he believed must have influenced the attack.
He said there has been a lingering threat to the communities razed down by herdsmen who allegedly wrote letters to these communities that they were going to attack them.
Elders of the areas reportedly took the matter to the security agencies in the state about two weeks ago so that something could be done to avert the attack.
One of the Elders of the affected areas, PP Elisha, said the attack could have been avoided if the security agencies had acted swiftly on their alert.
However, he said they thanked God that the military has sent their men to chase out the herdsmen, adding that several people have been killed while five villages were burnt down by the herdsmen.
Elisha, who visited some injured victims of the attack who were immediately evacuated to Specialist Hospital and Federal Medical Centre in Yola, by relatives lamented that presently there were serious pandemonium in the affected areas, adding that many people there, including areas that were not attacked, have flee their homes for fear of future attacks.
However an eyewitness had earlier told The Dream Daily that it was Boko Haram insurgents that attacked the five villages at 7:30 am of Sunday due to the nature of the attack which he said was similar to Boko Haram mode of operations or attacks.
The eyewitness claimed that many people were killed and injured in the attack, however he could not give the exact figure of casualty.
He said soldiers sent on immediate spot assessment were wounded and chased back by the attackers.
The eyewitness also alleged that the attackers have kidnapped the DPO of Vinikilang adding that a Hilux van full with cattles and food items belonging to the attackers was captured by the natives of the area.
While another eyewitness who simply identified himself as Haruna said he can swear with his life that the attackers were members of Boko Haram, adding that he was sure that the herdsmen may have drafted the members of Boko Haram to help them to fight the natives of the affected communities.
Haruna said: “I narrowly escape from the hands of the attackers” he said: “We have been living together with these Fulanis, and we know them but the people that attacked us were strangers, I believed that the Fulanis in our area drafted some strangers who we believe are members of Boko Haram because we have been having unresolved problems with them which had led to the death of some people in the past “he said .
The Acting Brigade commander of the 23 Amoured Brigade in Yola, Col A.B.A. Popoola confirmed the attack.
However, he said everything was under control as he said he had deployed his men to cordon off the area.
Popoola said the fight was between the herdsmen and farmers in the affected areas but did not revealed whether some of his men were wounded.
Checks revealed that the attackers have been repelled by the military and most of them have escaped into nearby bush some kilometres to Sambisa forest.