The crisis between Tiv and Jukun ethnic groups in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State has taken a different dimension as two students and a non-academic staff of the Federal University, Wukari, were abducted and killed on Wednesday.
Taraba State Police spokesman David Misal, an Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP), confirmed the abduction of the trio.
“They were abducted at Kasuwan Shanu, near Chonku,” he said.
The authorities of the university have closed down the institution following the incident.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abubakar Kundiri, told reporters that the slain students and staff, being Tiv, sparked off protest by Tiv students, which was joined by other students.
Kundiri said the abductors had used the mobile phone of the non-academic staff to demand for ransom from the university management.
The protesting students demanded for the bodies of the slain persons and relocation of the university. Tension was high, it was learnt.
A Committee of Deans and Directors, on behalf of the university Senate, approved the suspension of lectures and closure of the institution till further notice. The committee asked the students to vacate the premises of university.
The Vice-Chancellor said security was beefed up by the Army and Police to ensure the safe exit of students and staff from Wukari.
There has been renewed fight between the Jukun and Tiv ethnic groups for more than five months.
The killings have increased tension between the two states as Benue State government yesterday evacuated over 812 students from the university.
A witness, Jerry Iorgaen, was reported as saying that the students went out to buy provision before they were ambushed and killed by suspected Jukun militia group.
The President of the National Association of Benue State Students, Tyonor Smith, identified those killed as Msughter Vihior Andura (a 100-level Microbiology student) and Mark Tsav (a non-academic staff).
The Community of Tiv Students (CTS) has also protested the gruesome murder, with a call on the university’s management to close down the institution or give the Tiv students transport fare to leave the school.
Police spokesperson Kate Anene, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said she was yet to get report on the killings.
But, the Benue State Commissioner of Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar explained that the evacuation of Tiv students became necessary following the attack on Benue students in the institution by suspected Jukun militia group.
Ityavyar said buses were dispatched to bring the students home.
He stated that the buses were accompanied by a detachment of troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, adding that the students would be dropped in designated points, including Katsina-Ala, Ugbema in Buruku Local Government Area as well as Makurdi, the state capital.
“As a government, we are concerned about the security of our citizens. That is why the Deputy Governor Benson Abounu appealed to security operatives in Taraba to ensure the safety of the students,” he said.
Hundreds of lives have been lost and properties, including food stuffs, estimated in billions of naira have been destroyed since the crisis started in Kente village on April 1.