Members of Taraba State House of Assembly have urged the United Nations to address acts of genocide perpetrated on members of their constituencies by ruthless bandits within the region.
Speaking on behalf of the members representing Takum and Yangtu special development area, the member representing Ussa constituency, Habila Timothy said the attacks are unbearable, stressing that over 120,000 residents have so far been displaced.
Speaking to newsmen on Saturday, the lawmaker noted that failure to end the killings will leave them no option than to take legitimate and lawful means to seek for justice for the people.
According to him, there were over 60 persons killed in the recent attack by bandits within the area.
”You may be aware that for months now, the good people of Ussa whom I represent in the State House of Assembly and their kits and kins in so many communities in Takum Local Government area as well as Yangtu special development area have come under coordinated and sustained attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen (bandits) who have dislodged thousands of people from their ancestral communities and forced them into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
” Just this Thursday 22nd July 2022, Jenuwa Nyifiye village was attacked and no fewer than nine persons were killed. In the previous week precisely from 5th to 12th July, no fewer than 30 people were murdered, this is aside the six soldiers including the commanding Officer of Ada Barracks Takum that were killed by the suspected armed Fulani bandits in the area and others who have been killed in the past.
”Equally worrisome is the brutal manner in which the terrorists killed and maim their victims. For instance, on 18th July, 2022, Talatu Yaro was butchered at Kujwean by the suspected armed Fulani bandits and her remains packaged in polythene bags like bush meat.
”On the same day Rimamsikwe Audu was shredded in pieces at Kujwean village, while Andenyangtso Adamu was butchered along Takum -Lisam road by the same armed Fulani bandits,” the lawmaker lamented.
He added that the invasion of the said communities can be likened to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
” The invasion and occupation of Ussa land by armed Fulani group and the atrocities being committed can be likened to the Russia invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes being committed in Ukraine.
” Mutilation of the dead is against international war engagement. According to International Human Rights Law, rule 113 “Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited by international law.” The situation in Ussa is terribly bad and we would bring out documentary evidence to support our claims at the right time.
” We want the United Nations (UN) and the international communities to turn their attention to ongoing killings (which can be likened to genocide) in Ussa and parts of Takum and Yangtu which is capable of wiping the entire people of Ussa out of the planet earth ”
” The killings and mutilation of the bodies of the victims in Ussa constitutes crime against humanity and we urged the federal government to take urgent steps to end these senseless killings, for it is the primary responsibility of government to protect the lives and property of her citizens anywhere in this country ”.
”We are documenting carefully all that is going on in the area and failure to end the killings we shall not hesitate take legitimate and lawful means to seek for justice for the people of Ussa.
” It is imperative to state here that today, communities such as Kujwean, Asik, Ripenchin, kutuko, Kusansan and in fact, the entire Kwesati ward, Lissam II, Yangtu and Bika among other communities have been deserted. Reports from these communities indicate that the deserted communities have been taken over by Fulani herdsmen who now graze freely on people’s farms and homes.
” Today, the humanitarian situation occasioned by the attack and displacement of over 120,000 IDPs is pathetic and needs urgent intervention. We want to call on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other aid organizations and spirited individuals to intervene in the provision of shelter, protection, water, food and non-food relief items to address the growing humanitarian needs of the IDPs.”
While asking for a lasting solution to the conflict, the Taraba assembly members called on the state government to set up a high commission of inquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the attacks.
”We are also calling on the State Government to set up a high Commission of Enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the Crisis with the view to finding a lasting solution to the Conflict.”
According to him, this is very important because the Fulanis and the Kutebs have been living peacefully with each other over the decades until the recent ugly development.
“This could be the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob,” he added.
The lawmaker, however, warned of a looming food crisis should no effort be made to mitigate the situation.
Timothy insisted that their is no missing link between the Assembly and State government, but stressed that the security agencies are overwhelmed.
”As I speak to you, the military outfit, ‘ OPERATION WHIRL STROKE ‘ are very active in southern Taraba but they are small in number.
”My people will inform them of attack in Yangtu area, they will run there and while they are there attack will be going on in Takum axis or Ussa and they cannot tackled that at the same time.
”I cannot rule out the possibility of complicity from the part of security agencies too as I do not reasons why the people that kill military officers will be allowed to be moving freely in their number without any confrontation,” the lawmaker asserted.
He added that there needs to be an improvement in intelligence gathering by the security operatives.