A humanitarian crisis is likely to recur in Gombe State due to the continuous influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the trouble-stricken parts of Adamawa states.
Information from the Gombe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), indicated that influx of about 19 thousand fleeing IDPs, fleeing clashes in Lafiya Lamurde, in Adamawa, was recorded, as at last Friday evening, in Gombe and that the number keeps growing.
Daily Sun came across about 40 of the IDPs on Sunday, at Gombe Bypass, where they appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid. Majority of the IDPs said they had to flee Lafiya Lamurde following a massive raid, by a group involved in communal clashes in the town and its surroundings.
Hajara Hassan, a 22-year-old mother of two, who is also almost nine months pregnant, told Daily Sun her family lost everything, including their house and only escaped with the clothes on their backs during the attack.
“We are now living with a relative in Gombe but, we are in dire need of help. We need food and clothes,” Hajara said.
For 68-year-old Binta (Uwani), they trekked for about 30 kilometres to escape the attack and had to pass the night at a military check-point. They were later transported to Cham, in Balanga Local Government Area.
The widow and mother of seven said they were later offered a lift to Gombe, where they are now being sheltered by a nephew in the state’s metropolis.
“My house, five goats and other wearables have all been stolen and destroyed,” the grandma said in Hausa.
It is still unclear why and how the communal clash between Waja and Lunguda communities in Lafiya Lamurde in Adamawa began, despite having age-long history of living together in peace.
An IDP seeking refuge with an uncle in the state, said the pandemonium occured after a group allegedly beat up two and killed one member of Lunguda community.
“The clash that was expected to be between the Lunguda and Waja ethnic groups, took an unexpected turn, Bilyaminu, a Kano indigene living in Lafiya Lamurde added.
On its part, Gombe SEMA office said it hasraised a memorandum to the state governor seeking assistance for the IDPs, whose condition is horrifying.
Relief and Rehabilitation Officer of SEMA Gombe, Muhammad Garba, said they cannot help the matter rather than wait for what will come from the state Government.
He said the agency went to access figures of the IDPs who are spread across towns and communities in the state.
“We have about 6, 264 in Bam-Bam and another 11, 126 who are at present being sheltered in a primary school in Cham all in Balanga LGA, with another over 500 in Local Gona, Akko LGA.
“That is it and the figure is growing. There are about 67 in Tumu town and also in Akko LGA, not talking about those in Gombe metropolis, who are hard to count because they are mostly living with friends and relatives” Garba said.
He also added that there is the need for groups and individuals to come in and ender some help, “pending when relief would be coming from our agency, this is because the IDPs are in dire need of assistance.”