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 Bloodletting in Taraba


Residents of Wukari in Taraba State said yesterday that they counted 28 dead bodies on the streets of the restive town following last Saturday’s bloodbath but the police confirmed only five were killed. A House of Assembly member representing Wukari II Constituency Ishaya Gani, had on Saturday said a mere argument between two football enthusiasts snowballed into bloody battle with deep religious sentiment, leading to the killing of five people while about 300 houses were destroyed.

But Japhet Ande, according to the Sun,  a resident of Wukari, said that he counted 28 bodies on the streets hours after the incident. Already, state government has imposed 24 hours curfew on the community to forestall possible escalation of the crisis. A reporter who was in Wukari yesterday saw some of the bodies still lying on the streets even amid heavy presence of security men. Churches were not opened for Sunday service.

Also, security men have cordoned off the Zaki Biam Wukari Jalingo Road as vehicles plying the road from the Benue end were compelled to pass through Katsina-ala- Bali to Jalingo. A policeman who does not want his name in print said that the bodies were evacuated and taken to the Wukari General Hospital mortuary by security men on Saturday night. “We used our Hilux vehicle to convey more than 10 corpses to the mortuary at the General Hospital and up till now, there are bodies on the streets.

We may start parking them later in the evening”, he said, a possibility that more people may have died in the crisis than the previous official confirmation. Chairman of Wukari Local Government, Mr. Danazimi Agbo, said he “could not give the exact number of people killed,” adding “as I am speaking with you now, we are still conveying bodies to the mortuary. Therefore, it is impossible for me to tell you the number of casualty.”

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