From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
There is growing tension in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State following the blowing up of a Catholic church by terrorists barely 24 hours after attacking and killing at least three persons.
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) suspected to have been planted by the terrorists blew up at the Catholic Chapel of St John’s College in Mutum-Biyu, the headquarters of Gassol on Monday.
The attack comes less than 24 hours after the terrorists who were dressed in a military attire attacked and killed at least three persons in Wuro Bokki village in Gassol.
The Principal of the College, Rev Fr Emmanuel Vershima Ikyaan, told reporters that the explosion went up when there were no people in the church.
‘We thank God no life was lost, but the church has been destroyed. Like 10 minutes after the explosion in the school, we started hearing gunshots in the town,’ the reverend said.
‘The youths and some students were holding a programme in the Chapel which double as the school hall and left the premises shortly before the explosion.
‘This is a religious premises and if attacks like these are happening to the Church, where will people run to? I want to call for a thorough investigation to unravel those behind the attack and the perpetrators brought to book,’ he said.
Taraba State Police Command spokesman DSP Abdullahi Usman, who confirmed the attack in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said ‘what happened was that some kidnappers came to kidnap the owner of one filling station in the town, unfortunately for them, they could not achieve their mission.
‘In the process of running to escape being trapped, they started shooting sporadically to escape. It was in the process that they threw an explosive into the church to cause fear to enable them to escape. The explosion blew up and caused some damages to the building.’
The terrorists who stormed Wuro Bokki village, Gasso local government area of Taraba state on Saturday already left over a thousand villagers displaced.
Alhaji Musa Abdulahi, the local government council chairman, who confirmed the development to reporters during a telephone chat, disclosed that the bandits stormed the village in large numbers and burnt down eleven houses during the operation before they returned to their base.
He alleged that the bandits have camp in a forest between Sendede and Gassol wards of the local government.
State Governor Darius Ishaku had earlier raised the alarm over the influx of strangers into the state, alleging that they were bandits from other states that were establishing camps in Taraba.