Not so long after uneasy calm returned to Wukari area of Taraba state following earlier calshes, another round of fighting occurred in the early hours on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 leading to the death of 7 people.
The violent exchange, which saw warring groups engage in a fierce gun duel signaled the end of the fragile peace which seemed to have returned to the ancient city in recent times.
According to investigation by Thisday reporters, the clash started around 5 am when unknown armed men forcefully gained entrance to the palace of the Aka Uka, the paramount ruler of Wukari, shooting sporadically before facing resistance from youths of the town
Though the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Joseph Kwaji, told journalists that the casualty figure was yet to be ascertained, the National President, Jukun Youths and Cultural Association, Zando Hoku, told journalists on phone that seven of the gunmen who looked more like insurgents from outside Nigeria particularly Alshabab, were killed by Jukun youths.
Hoku, who raised the suspicion that the palace of the Aku Uka was the target of the insurgents, further told journalists 37 of the Jukun youths that repelled the attack were wounded by the soldiers drafted to the area to sustain peace.
According to Hoku, “the current clash is largely premeditated because there had been plans to remove the Aku Uka and those behind the insurgents want to capitalise on the riot act read to traditional rulers to maintain peace in their domains or risk being removed by attacking Aku’s palace with the aim of assassinating him or get him removed from office.”
He maintained that life was gradually returning to normalcy in Wukari since the last peace accord brokered by the state acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, just as he asked rhetorically ‘what could have been the motive behind the attack if not the threat of removing the traditional ruler?,’
Insisting that the insurgents might have probably been brought from another country to execute the attack, Hoku stressed that looking at the bodies of the seven insurgents that were killed would reveal that they were foreigners, noting that they don’t look like Nigerians.
However, Kwaji, who confirmed to journalists that the clash started at about 5a.m., said the casualty figure was yet to be ascertained just as he disclosed that the situation had been brought under control through the swift intervention of security agents deployed to the area.
“There were exchange of gunfire in Wukari at about 5a.m. but the situation has been brought under control following the swift intervention of security agents deployed to the area but as I speak to you, the casualty figure has not been ascertained but I assure you that I will get back to you as soon as it is ready,” he stated.