A Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Kamai on Friday said 51 Kona indigenes were killed across 11 villages, during the attack on Kona people by Fulani herdsmen last month.
Kamai a native of Kona in Jalingo Local Government Area of Taraba State disclosed this in a homily he delivered during a remembrance Mass for the 51 Martyrs held at the Church of Assumption in Kona village.
According to him, 8,494 people were displaced across 11 villages of Murkunu, Murtia, Yaukani, Murbai, Yawai, Somporo, Jekunuhou, Sembe, Ndayaro, Kaudad, and Keshabro in Jalingo and Ardo-Kola LGAs.
The Priest who said the Kona people though with pains in their hearts had forgiven the Fulani herdsmen who carried out the attack and called on them to repent.
“In this crisis, there is no winner, no vanquish. I know it is painful to say this looking at the number of casualties but we pray God to touch the heart of the bereaved, the injured, the displaced, widows and orphans and above all rest the dead.
“We pray God will turn the heart of those who commit evil to true conversion God desires. All the people who died are not dead but asleep in the Lord,” he said.
The cleric called on the government to ensure the immediate resettlement of IDPs to their original homes so that they can go back to their farms, even as he called for unity of purpose among the Kona people.
Chief of Kona, Kuru Augustine in his remarks appealed for calm and called on the government to ensure the return of the IDPs to their homes to continue with their farming activities.
“We attributed what has happened to the will of God and called on both the Fulani and Kona people to give peace a chance.
“Development can only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace, so we must give peace a chance,” he said.