The Taraba State Police Command said on Saturday that the number of casualties branded in the media alleged to have died following militias’ attack on Taraba communities were not true.
The command described as untrue that 42 and 73 persons respectively were killed in some communities in Lau Local Government Area of the state.
The command however confirmed that 17 persons were killed in the attack while several houses were burnt by the invaders, adding that four suspects have been arrested.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Jalingo on Saturday by Taraba state police command.
The statement was signed by the spokesperson, ASP David Misal.
The statement read in part: “The attention of the Nigeria Police, Taraba State Command has been drawn to reports emanating from some television houses and newspapers captioned “Suspected Headsmen Kill 42, Sack 12 Taraba Villages” and “73 Dead, 50 Villages Burnt in Clashes Between Hausa-Fulani and Yangdam Communities”.
“The Command wishes to state categorically that these publications are not true reflection of the situation on ground.
“It is on record that on the 05/07/18, Mayo-lope town and surrounding villages came under attack by criminal elements who came from Adamawa border communities mainly youth of the Yangdam and Mumuye under the disguise that some criminal bandits of Fulani extraction who attacked them were being harboured at Mayo-Lope.
“The attack on some Fulanis in Mayo-Lope led to killing of two persons and setting ablaze of some houses which consequently led to reprisal attacks on soft targets (villages) belonging to the people of Yangdam, Mumuye, Yotti, and Fulani located in some remotes parts of the area of Mayo-Lope and Abbare.
“These reprisal attacks resulted into the killing of fifteen (15) persons bringing the death toll to 17 with several thatched huts/houses burnt while some herds of cattle were also killed.
“While the gentle pmen of the press are encouraged to do their job, there is the need to cross check their information before going to the press.”
According to the statement: “15 corpse were recovered by the police and other security agencies deployed to the area while four suspects of both Fulani, Mumuye and Yangdam extractions have been arrested”, adding that “one pump action riffle, dane guns, bows and arrows and cutlasses were recovered from them as exhibits.”
The command stated that 15 patrol teams comprising of over 100 personnel and another 50 mobile force operatives have been mobilised to the troubled zone to restore peace and normalcy.