Tension enveloped Yelwa Shendam, in the southern zone of Plateau State over the killing of 10 travellers who were said to be on a business trip to Dampar in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State.
Yelwa has been one the theatres of the internecine strife in Plateau State since May 2004 after the killing of over 600 people, resulting in the imposition of a state of emergency by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The 10 victims were said to be travelling in two Peugeot 504 cars on Thursday evening before they met their death.
The incident followed the killing of 35 people on Thursday morning in Mavo village of Wase Local Government Area of the state.
There are feelings that the killing of the 35 people was connected with the killing of the 10 persons.
The 10 murdered entrepreneurs, made up of seven Muslim men and three Christian women, were ambushed by some youths suspected to be from Tarok , a village, about four kilometres after Walu in Langtang South Local Government area of Plateau State.
Six of those killed, whose corpses have been recovered and buried according to Islamic rites in Yelwa on Thursday, were identified as Sabo Yusif, Adamu Abdullahi, Lawal Maikifi, Sale Tori Papa, Habibu Adam and Bala Muhammad.
The identities of the three other victims were unknown as at press time.
However a search party was constituted on Friday to recover the body of the 10th victim, identified as Abdullahi Haliru, who drove one of the cars.
An eyewitness, who narrowly escaped from the attackers, said the youths were armed with AK 47 riffles, machetes and other weapons.
Pleading anonymity, he said, “The Tarok youths attacked and killed the travellers around 4.30pm on Thursday. The victims were traders and they were taking their wares to Dampar to sell at the weekly market.
“The youths were fully armed. Some were carrying AK47, machetes and other weapons. They ambushed the traders and shot them. Those who tried to flee were murdered with machetes. It was horrible. My escape was a miracle.”
A detachment of policemen from the Divisional Police Office in Mabudi, the headquarters of Langtang South Local Government Area were deployed in the area they recovered five of the corpses, which they deposited at the mortuary of the Langtang General Hospital in Langtang North Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, a delegation of traditional rulers from Langtang South Local Government Area who were accompanied by some policemen and local government officials on Friday visited Yelwa to commiserate with the victims’ families and also pacify residents of the town.
When contacted on Saturday, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, said, “I have not been briefed on the incident.”