Rev Fr. David Tanko, A Catholic priest with St Peters Catholic Parish, Ahmadu, in the Southern zone of Taraba, was on Wednesday killed by unknown Gunmen.
Fr. Tanko was said to have been ambushed and killed between Kasuan Haske and Tortse, on his way to Ahmadu from Takum.
DSP David Misal, Spokesperson for Taraba state Police Command in Nigeria, confirmed the incident via text message, describing the incident as unfortunate.
WarDesk spoke to Shiban Tikari, Chairman of Takum Local Government Area via telephone and confirmed the alleged attack was carried out by Tiv militias.
Reports have it that the clergy had gone to Takum for a peace meeting with other clergymen to resolve the “Tiv and Jukun” communal conflict before he was killed.
A Resident who spoke to WarDesk mentioned that “the Clergy was trailed to the point where he was killed.’’
For 5 months, the crisis between the Tiv and Jukun ethnicities from Wukari into Donga and Takum local government areas in Nigeria leading to the death of dozens with countless properties destroyed.
Confirming the incident to newsmen, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese in Jalingo, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa condemened the killing of Rev. Fr. David Tanko as perpetrators of the act are unidentified at this time. He described the killing as brutal.
According to the Bishop,
“we received the news of his death with shock. This is sad. The diocese is mourning.
“We have been preaching peace and making efforts to bring both parties in the crisis in the area to round table discussion.
“For a priest who has been preaching peace to be killed in this most gruesome manner is pathetic to say the least because a priest belongs to all.
“The Police authority in the state have promised me that they are investigating the case, we pray that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
“Our basic concern now is to give him a befitting burial. We don’t want any group to go on reprisal. Going on reprisal will only worsen the situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has given a marching order to the government of Benue and Taraba States and their respective traditional rulers to bring to an end the hostility between the Tiv and Jukun people.
The order came on the heels of the recent barbaric and gruesome murder of the Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. David Tanko by yet to be identified persons at Kpankufu village on Wukari road in Taraba state.
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also directed the Tor Tiv and the Aku Uka of Wukari, religious and community leaders in the two states to meet urgently to bring an end to persistent violent clashes between the two ethnic groups.
The President in the statement in Abuja on Friday said,
“The murder of the Catholic Priest highlights the urgency of addressing this embarrassing and persistent conflict.”
Describing such frenzy of human destruction, violent attacks on people and property in the communities by the warring parties as unacceptable, President Buhari said the Federal Government will not sit idly and watch the deep-seated antagonistic relationship between the Tiv and Jukun people fester.
According to him, “I have watched with trepidation and disbelief how hate and bigotry have inhabited the human soul, resulting in brothers killing brothers.
”On behalf of the Federal government and the entire people of the country, I offer my condolences to the Catholic community, the government and people of Taraba over the losses arising from recent incidents involving the warring communities.
“The persistent deaths, destruction and the seeming desire by warring sides to push each other to extinction is embarrassing, and this is against the essence of our ethnic and religious diversity in the country.
“Progress is impossible where violence and destruction are allowed to dominate our daily lives.”