Taraba crisis: Army GOC tasks politicians on neutrality, fairness

The Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division, Nigerian Army, Jos, Brig.-Gen. Benjamin Ahanotu, has called on politicians in Taraba to be neutral, fair and just over the current crisis on the Mambilla Plateau.

Ahanotu made the call when he addressed the Chairman of Sardauna Local Government, Mr John Yep in Gembu, Taraba.

He said from the briefs he got from the Brigade Commander of 23 Brigade, Yola, Brig.- Gen. Bello Mohammed, prominent politicians from the area played roles that escalated  the situation.

Ahanotu said the carnage being perpetrated in the area would not have escalated if the politicians had acted justly in dealing with the situation.

He warned that soldiers deployed to the area should not be dragged into politics as they were only there to restore peace.

Earlier, Mohammed said  officials of the local government were frustrating the efforts of the army  to reach the hinterland where most of the havoc was being perpetrated.

He also said that in spite of the on-going crisis, no prominent politician had come over to the area to help in calming the situation.

“No member of the national or state assembly has come home despite the fact that they would have assisted in controlling their people,” Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, Mr Yukubu Babas, the Commissioner of Police in Taraba, has put the death toll from the crisis at 18.

Babas said two persons had been arrested in connection with the crisis and investigation was still in progress.

He said that in spite of the difficult terrain on the plateau, security operatives had been able to penetrate the hinterland to save lives.