The Taraba State Police Command has refuted casualty figures reported by the media in renewed clashes in Lau Local Government Area of the state.
The command said that contrary to reports, only 17 persons were killed, as against 42 and 73 reported by the media.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. David Misal, made the clarifications in a statement issued on Saturday.
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 Herdsmen Kill 42, Sack 12 Taraba Villages. 73 Dead, 50 Villages Burnt in Clashes between Hausa-Fulani and Yangdam Communities.
“It is on record that on July 5, Mayo-lope town and surrounding villages came under attack by criminal elements who came from Adamawa boarder 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 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 reprisals resulted in the killing of 15 persons bringing the death toll to 17 with several thatched huts/houses burnt while some herds of cattle were also killed.”
The command frowned on sensational and misleading reporting on events by some sections of the media.
It said, “The command wishes to state categorically that while the gentlemen of the press are encouraged to do their job, there is the need to cross check their information before going to the press.”
The statement further said that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the clashes, from whom pump action riffle, dane guns, bows and arrows as well as cutlasses were recovered.