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Death Toll Hits 24 In Taraba Clashes

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The death toll in the renewed clash that broke out in Wukari on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 has risen to 24 as the warring factions continue to engage each other in gun duel despite efforts by security agents to bring the situation under control.

Besides, Jukun women yesterday staged a peaceful protest round the streets of Wukari to demand the withdrawal of troops from the ancient town on the grounds that the soldiers deployed to the town are taking sides in the crisis by killing their men.

The women, who marched in their thousands to the palace of the Aku Uka, the paramount ruler of the town and the police area command where they were addressed by the Area Commander, said it had become very obvious that the soldiers were taking sides in the crisis.
They also threatened that their men would have no other choice than to engage the soldiers if they were not withdrawn.

At the Police Area Command, the Area Commander, ACP Abu Mufutau Ayinde, urged the women to remain very peaceful and support every effort to return normalcy to the town in the interest of the development of the town, saying no town can develop in the absence of peace.

But immediately after dispersing from the area command, there was sporadic shooting from Angwan Rogo area of the town which led to another gun battle which left 17 people dead and several others injured.

Confirming the escalation of the crisis to journalists, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Joseph Kwaji, said the protest by the women was conducted peacefully and were advised by the area commander to remain peaceful in their conduct and contribute to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.

He further disclosed that not quite long after the women left the area command, there were sporadic shootings at Angwan Rogo area which led to another exchange of gunfire by the two warring groups.

Though he said he was yet to be briefed on the number of casualties, THISDAY investigations revealed that at least 17 people were killed in the battle.

“It is true that there was a peaceful demonstration by women in Wukari who were calling for the withdrawal of soldiers from Wukari and after going round the town in their thousands, they went to the police area command where they were addressed by the area commander who urged them to remain very peaceful, calm and contribute their quota to ensure peace finally returns to the town.”

“But immediately after they left the area command, there were gunshots at Angwan Rogo area which led to fresh exchange of gunfire but the security agencies swiftly brought the situation under control and the town is now very calm,” he stressed.

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