Suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked Dori and Mesuma villages in Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba State, on Sunday, killing at least 15 people, police said Tuesday.
Residents said more than 40 people were killed and several houses razed by the attackers.
Speaking to reporters at headquaters of the state police command, the state commissioner of police, Shaba Alkali, said the herdsmen launched coordinated attacks on the two villages on Sunday at about 11AM.
“A group of people numbering about twenty, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, invaded and attacked Dori and Mesuma villages via Garbabi ward, Gashaka LGA, and burnt some thatch houses forcing the villagers to flee into the villages of Mayo-Selbe and Sabon Gida for safety,” the police chief said.
“Eight people were killed in Dori village while seven were also killed in Mesuma,” he added.
Mr. Alkali said when he got the report of the attacks from the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) incharge of Serti, he quickly mobilised his men and deployed them to the area.
He said the officers could not access the villages with their vehicles due to the poor state of roads.
He said the deployed operatives spent hours trekking to the villages.
He said over 40 more mobile police personnel were redeployed from Yola, Adamawa State, to the affected areas.
The police chief further revealed that the police detectives have cordoned off routes the affected communities.
“My detectives are around Bali area to make sure that those that carried out the attacks are arrested,” he said.
He said two suspects had been arrested.
The police commissioner paraded a 52-year-old man, Ardo Ayuba Iliyasu, as the mastermind of the Dori and Mesuma villages attacks.
The police commissioner said Mr. Iliyasu convened a meeting of a large number of persons in his house at Garbabi village few hours before the attacks was launched.
But when interviewed by journalists, the suspect denied involvement in the killings.
The cause of the attacks was not clear.