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Conflict in Taraba over murders as locals and Fulani exchange insults

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The ongoing debates over the recent deaths in Taraba State have strained relations between the local population and Tabbital Pulaku International, the state chapter of the Fulani socio-cultural organization.

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On October 2, 2022, vigilante groups massacred at least 12 people in Zudai village, close to Dogon-Ruwa community, in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State. Community members claimed that the victims were bandits, while the Fulani socio-cultural association argued that they were innocent of the crimes that prompted neighborhood vigilante groups to kill them.

In addition to claiming that “a particular tribe was targeted,” Bello Ahmed Belal, chairman of Tabbital Pulaku International in Taraba State, added that “the vigilante organization went for our people in the name of eliminating robbers.”

Belal affirmed: “It is unethical to go to homes and kill some individuals because their tribal members are involved in banditry,” while acknowledging that “there are terrible people in all tribes.”

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He stated that rather than the vigilante going after “everyone related to them,” the alleged kidnappers should have been identified.

Recall that the State Police Command had previously stated that the victims were not bandits, despite what some people claimed.

On Wednesday, October 13, 2022, however, locals came together to publicly declare that the persons killed by the vigilantes were bandits, not innocent civilians. The triumvirate of Mallam Hansi, Evangelist Jocob Ali, and Wakili Sani Anema led the public proclamation. In their claims, the community stated that the operation that resulted in the “bandits'” deaths was a “organized attempt to free the villages in the area from the hands of bandits.”

They claim that at the scene of the fight between the vigilante and the robbers, some abducted victims were freed.

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Residents further argued that they adhere to what they referred to as “the true picture of what took place in the council” and urged security organizations to take advantage of the efforts of the vigilante groups by helping to make their neighborhood and its surroundings uninhabitable and safe for bandits and kidnappers.

In a similar vein, Micah Danbaba Dakka, the caretaker chairman of the council, had earlier confirmed that the victims were bandits who had terrorized villages in the state’s Gassol and Bali local government regions.

The community members continued by listing the victims of kidnapping, which included Abdul’aziz Yunusa, the village chief of Dadin Kowa. Amos Yonana, Alhaji Dauda Bappa Isa, and Malam Manu, the head imam of Dadin Kowa, were also mentioned.

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