THE brutal murder of no fewer than 23 innocent persons in Dabna community in Hong Local Government Area of Adamawa State early this week has continued to trigger fear, controversy and disbelief in the state. Many had initially blamed the onslaught on the Boko Haram terrorists since they are always launching attacks from that axis of the state. But that was not the case this time around.
Barely a few days after the killings and destruction of property worth millions of Naira, it emerged that the mayhem erupted as a direct result of disagreement over land boundary.
The truth apparently came to light based on findings which emerged after the state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who hail from the state, visited the scene of the destruction and saw things for themselves. After assessing the situation and armed with preliminary security report, Governor Fintiri immediately dispelled claims that the attacks were launched by Boko Haram elements.
“The attack was not carried out by Boko Haram insurgents as investigations have shown. The attack was carried out in connivance with some conspirators in the area over land issues,” Fintiri fired back. Anybody found wanting in the dastardly act will not be spared as investigation is ongoing to fish out the perpetrators who are hell-bent on destabilising the peace of the area. The community should be vigilant as government is talking with the high military command to establish a camp in the area,” the governor disclosed.
While sympathising with the local vigilante groups who lost their members, Fintiri tasked them not be deterred as government would assist them with working materials to enable them to continue to defend their communities.
Earlier, the District Head of Dugwaba, Mr. Simon Yakubu said the area is prone to security threat owing to its proximity to the Sambisa forest and called for the establishment of a military base in the area.
Some of the survivors of the attack who spoke on phone with Arewa Voice claimed that the attack was carried out by herders. One of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that it was a reprisal attack by the herders on the community over an earlier attack on them this year. According to him: “There was a clash between the community and cattle herders in January during which both sides recorded casualties.
” The two parties in the feud have held several peace meeting to avoid a reprisal attack by the Fulanis only for the invaders to strike this week.”
Another survivor disclosed that the attackers stormed Dabna Village at about 7:30pm and started sporadic shooting from the village square. He said unknown to the villagers, the attackers had surrounded the village to await those that will escape into the forest and the mountains. The survivor added that it was those that were attempting to escape that were killed by the side of the village.
“When the attackers arrived, they immediately ordered women and children to remain indoors and not to run, assuring them that they did not come for them but the men.
“But, despite their order, everyone in Dabna ran for their dear life as the attackers mindlessly burned houses and other structures. The attackers on entering our village went to the worshiping centres and set ablaze LCCN, Methodist, Catholic and the RCCG churches, among others, before descending on other public and private houses,” one other survivor informed.
The Chairman of Hong Local Government Area, Mr. James Pukuma, said the attackers were on a reprisal mission over the killing of their people late last year. He confirmed that the attackers spoke throughout their operation in a language that identified them as Fulani. Pukuma said the community had been deserted as all the survivors are taking refuge in Garha, Kwampre and Hong pending the return of normalcy to the area. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who visited the area to sympathise with the victims, also donated foodstuffs and building materials to assist the over 5000 victims in recovering from the attacks.