At least 30 women and children were killed Monday in attacks by militiamen in Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State, police said.
Residents and security sources said the attacks on the mainly Fulani settlements were by armed gangs suspected to be of the predominant Bachama ethnic group in the area.
They however said the death toll was higher.
An affected resident, Oriwa Hammadu, said the militia members were chanting war songs on Monday evening as they launched attacks on the settlements in Shafaran, Shawal, Gumara, Kikam and Kadamti villages in the area.
‘’The attacks came when all the men were out of the areas. Many had gone to market and a wedding ceremony in Mayo-Belwa, so they took us by surprise,” said Mr. Hammadu.
‘’I was on my way back from Numan town market when I saw smokes billowing from our settlements. Later, I saw some Bachama militia members numbering about 150 coming from our settlements.
“So, I had to sneak to save my life. But they killed our children, women and burnt houses.
“They came with dangerous weapons including machetes, daggers and guns and were chanting war songs in Bachama dialect.
‘’Both the injured and the corpses were evacuated to Numan General hospital,’’ a distraught Mr. Hammadu said.
A truck driver, Emmanuel Nwachuku who plies the Numan-Jalingo road said: ‘’The attackers singing Bachama songs came in their dozens.
“We saw them while crossing to Dong road. Thank God we escaped before they launched the attacks.’’
The spokesperson of Adamawa Police command, Othman Abubakar, said about 30 persons were killed in the attacks on herdsmen in the area.
‘’Thirty Fulani children and women were killed during the attacks in Numan villages by suspected Bachama farmers and already investigation has commenced to arrest the suspects.
‘’We were told the attackers hailed from the affected areas. We are on the top of the situation and already investigations have commenced to fish out those involved,’’ he said.
Speaking shortly after the burial of the victims, the North East chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Mafindi Danburam, said women and children were killed by the attackers who came in the wee hours of Monday.
‘’We have just observed the funeral rites of 45 bodies of women and children here in Numan. We are still searching for the remaining missing people.
‘’We want government to as matter of urgency swing into action by investigating those involved so as to avoid reprisal.”
Mr. Danburam alleged that Bachama youth had been threatening herdsmen to vacate the area.
‘’In the build up to these attacks, the district head of Numan had earlier summoned Fulani leaders and ordered them to leave his domain. He even threatened that there would be attack.
‘’And all pleas by the Fulani were to no avail,’’ he said.
The state Deputy Governor, Martins Babale, visited the area on Tuesday to assess the situation after which he called for calm.
Mr. Babale, who condemned the incident, vowed that government would fish out the culprits.
‘’The culprits would be brought to book and whoever is involved will not be spared, so lets learn to live in peace,’’ he urged.