By Israel Ajon

The attack on the Gara Chanchanji’s Palace by unknown gun men was a deliberate design by some criminal elements to incite an ethnic crisis between the Tiv and Jukun people living in Takum LGA of the State.

This was revealed by the Care Taker of Mbajir people of Takum LGA, Zaki Hungurga  Amo. Zaki Amo was speaking at the funeral of the late Octogenarian, Pa Eliya Orhena Saammaaya Dzwava.  The Late Pa Dzwava died on the 24th January, and was buried on Saturday, the 13th February, at Tse Saamaaya, Mbajir Clan, Chanchanji ward of Takum LGA of Taraba State.  He was 109 years.

The revelation by the Mbajir Caretaker provided an insight as to what prompted the unprovoked attack on the Gara of Chanchanji’s palace by the gun men.  A police man was killed, while several people had gunshot injuries.

An eye witness told our reporter that the attackers, who disguised in military camouflage, besieged the Palace of the Gara as early as 6 am Wednesday, 10th February. They came on three bikes, with each, carrying three of them.

“They came through Agu center road, a path from Chanchanji that leads to Gbise in Katsina Ala LGA of Benue State.

“On arrival, they headed straight to the Mosque where the Gara usually worship in the morning, when they discovered that he was not in the mosque; they headed to the palace which was close the mosque.  They were about to go inside, but they inquired from a boy who told them that the Gara was not in the Palace.

“It was this time that this unlucky police officer came around. He was coming back from a duty in the Primary School refugee camp. Thinking that they are genuine security operatives, he saluted them. As he passed to go his own way, they opened fire on him.” The source said.

Worldview checks reveal that a police man died, while four others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries.

The attack left many people wondering the motive of the attackers. But the expression by the Care Taker Mbajir has provided a hint to their action. Chanchanji is the only community that was not affected by the last year’s outburst of the prolonged Tiv, Jukun crisis.

“It is a deliberate ploy to plunge our community into a crisis between Tiv and Jukun, so that they will benefit. At present, these criminal elements are going out of business. Our Community has denounced them, security operatives are after them. So they want a crisis situation on ground so that they can be relevant, or at best divert the attention of the community away from them.

“But we are grateful that God did not allow them. Imagine what would have been happening now in our community, if their plan had succeeded.  They tried to subvert the peace that has existed between us and the Jukun in Takum LGA, particularly in Chanchanji, but God did not and will not allow them” He stated.

The traditional ruler asked  God for the repose of the soul of the police officer who lost his life in the incident, even as he wished the injured a quick recovery. He further called on parents and community leaders to join hands so that they will effectively fight the monster of criminality that is turning the hitherto peaceful and economically vibrant community into a ghost land.

“I’m calling on you to join hands, so that we can collectively fight this calamity that is facing us. Do all you can so that your children do not join this group; and those of you that your children are in the group, do your best to ensure that they are out of it” He said.

The Care taker described the late Pa Saamaaya, as a peace lover, who devoted his energy for the peaceful existence of the community, asking community leaders to emulate him.

He was survived by his wife, children and great grand children; one of them is Samuel Orhena of the National Sugar Development Council. He was buried according to Christian rite.




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