The newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Farouk Yahaya, yesterday formally assumed office as the 22nd chief of the Nigerian Army.
Maj Gen Yahaya’s appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari came seven days after the death of the former COAS, Lt – Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died alongside ten other military officers in a plane crash in Kaduna last Friday.
Yahaya who arrived at the Army headquarters in Abuja at about 12 pm inspected a guard mounted in his honour as well as the change of flag.
He was briefed by the Chief of Policy and Plans (Army), Maj Gen Benjamin Ahanotu.
He was earlier received by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, at the Defence headquarters before moving to Army headquarters.
The CDS, while congratulating the new COAS on his appointment urged him to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Attahiru, particularly in the fight against insurgency and banditry.
Irabor described Yahaya’s appointment as well-deserved, just as he wished him a successful tenure in office as he assumed command.
Maj Gen Yahaya later held a closed-door meeting with principal staff Officers at the Army Headquar
Gunmen Kill 66 In Benue, Taraba, Kaduna
No fewer than 66 persons have been reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, militants and bandits in Benue, Taraba and Kaduna communities.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt yesterday that 42 persons, including seven students of the Benue State College of Education, Katsina-Ala, were killed in renewed separate attacks by marauding herdsmen in Katsina-Ala and Gwer- local government areas of Benue State.
Our correspondent gathered that heavily armed men suspected to be herdsmen and men of the late militant, Terwase Akwaza, aka ‘Gana’ on Thursday morning attacked Tse Shikaan in Mbagena, Kpav, katsina-Ala local government area of the state.
The attack is coming barely 72 hours after the same group allegedly killed about 100 persons in four council wards in the same local government area.
The herders, according to eyewitnesses, were led by the loyalists of the late leader of the militia group who are now conspiring with the Fulani herdsmen to kill their people.
Also confirming the killing in Gwer- West, the council chairman, Mrs Grace Igbabon, said some suspected herdsmen attacked a community close to Makurdi and killed five people while some persons were also abducted
She said, “We were holding a stakeholders meeting yesterday between 4 and 5pm when people from Tinader village called me to say that there was an attack on their village. They said five people were killed.
“I later gathered that the suspected Fulani herdsmen also waylaid passengers on Makurdi -Naka road and kidnapped some people, including a woman and her child, and up till now, their whereabouts is unknown.”
When contacted, the State Police Command spokesperson, DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the attack in Gwer West, said five people were killed in the attack.
Taraba State, about 12 people were said to have been killed in Gassol and two in Bali local government areas of the state, following fresh attacks by suspected herders.
A community leader, Orkurga Terkimbi, told our correspondent on phone that 12 dead bodies were evacuated by security around the bushes of Ijever near Sabon-Gida in Gassol local government area.
Also, two people were killed and 11 others injured on Thursday night by herdsmen in Pangari community in Bali local government area of the state.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that three persons who sustained injuries in the attack in Gassol are receiving treatment in a private hospital in Sabon-Gida, while 11 others who sustained injuries in the attack in Pangari are receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Bali.
Hundreds of people, mostly Tiv farmers, on Friday flooded Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, following the gory attacks on the two communities.
The IDPs who are camping at NKST Church, Mayo-Dassa and NKST Church, Kufai, and other locations said the attackers sacked Pangari, Sansani communities in Bali and Numbe, Ijever and Sindelde in Gassol local government area.
Mr. Matthew Baki, chairman of Tiv Cultural and Social Association, Bali local government chapter, confirmed to our correspondent that two people were killed on Thursday night and 11 others wounded.
“The suspected Fulani militia attacked Pangari at about 2:00am and killed two people while 11 others were wounded. This morning, the Police in Bali came and evacuated the corpse and the injured to General hospital Bali.
“Many people are fleeing the area now. The number of people leaving the area has overwhelmed motorists. Some women and children are fleeing by foot and heading towards the Jalingo and Mutum Biyu axis,” he said.
In Mutum Biyu, headquarters of Gassol local government, a Catholic Priest, Rev Fr George Dogo, said his Church was filled with people fleeing attacks in some communities.
Dogo appealed to relevant authorities to arrest the situation.
“The escalation of the attacks is worrisome. From the reports I am getting the people are being attacked without any form of provocation. I don’t really know what is going on, but I want to appeal to relevant authorities to halt the escalation of the attacks and killings,” he said.
Police Public Relations Officer, DSP David Misal, in a text message to our correspondent said, “The report I received from Gassol indicated some round huts were set ablaze, but no report of loss of life except the one of yesterday.
Also, the Kaduna State government yesterday confirmed that no fewer than 10 people were killed in some villages in the state.
Samuel Aruwan, the commissioner for internal security and home affairs, noted in a statement that security agencies reported armed bandits’ attack in Na’ikko village in Giwa local government area of the state.
He said volunteers engaged the bandits and in the ensuing gun duel, three residents were killed.
The statement identified those killed as Alhaji Shafiu, Alhaji Balailu Sani, Abdulsamad Hussaini.
Aruwan further said in a reaction to the killings, youths of Na’ikko village attacked a nearby Fulani settlement, Rugan Abdulmuminu, and killed two persons who they alleged to be involved in the initial attack.
They were identified as Abdulmuminu Agwai and Samaila Agwai.
The statement noted that in another incident, armed bandits invaded Dakyauro village, Sabon Birni, Igabi local government area, killing four persons after rustling about 25 cows.
“The four persons killed were listed as: Musbahu Yusuf,Basiru Jaafaru,Ja’afaru Yahaya and Umaru Sulaiman. Two persons were injured in the attack: Anas Ibrahim and Aisha Abbas.”
The statement noted that a community leader, Dauda Adamu, was also killed by bandits at Ungwan Ayaba in Chikun LGA.
He said armed bandits also invaded farmlands on the outskirts of Gigani village, Kerawa, Igabi local government and rustled about 14 bulls being used by farmers to plough the land.
According to the statement, Governor Nasir el-Rufai sent condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attacks, as he prayed for the repose of their souls. He also wished those injured a speedy recovery.
The statement assured farmers in Giwa, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun local government areas of the government’s awareness of their plight, saying it was taking steps to ensure that they continue to pursue their livelihoods in safety.
“The governor is also monitoring the developments in Kauru, Jema’a and Zangon Kataf LGAs, and is working assiduously to enhance security and peace in the identified flash-points in these LGAs,” Aruwan said.