The crisis started in the morning of Thursday May 9, when some youths from Gudum Sayawa allegedly chased another youth with weapons from their area and the person crossed into Gudum Fulani for safety. But when youths from Gudum Sayawa were prevented from entring Gudum Fulani, they allegedly started lurling objects into the settlement. Leaders of both communities intervened by inviting security agents comprising the police and the military, who quickly responded and brought the situation under control. But many were already injured. In the bid to checkmate the youths, the community leader of Gudum Sayawa, Haruna M. Isah, was reported to have lost about eight teeth and was hospitalized at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi for days. Also, another elder, Mai Rikon Gudum Fulani, known as “Baba Ja” was manhandled by some miscreants. Findings by our correspondent revealed that two people were killed during the crisis. When Daily Trust on Sunday visited the area on Wednesday, security personnel were still ensuring law and order within Gudum Fulani and Gudum Sayawa communities. About eight houses at Gudum Fulani community were completely burnt. The community leader, Umar Abdullahi, who took our correspondent round the affected areas, lamented that, the crisis was unfortunate as they had been living in peace with one another until some miscreants took the law into their own hands. One of the victims, a widow with 10 children, Mary Joseph, whose house was burnt said they were sitting under a tree when some boys passed and pointed to her house, saying they will kill them. According to her, she quickly gathered the children and headed for the hill where they hid and watched her house set ablaze. She said bags of fertiliser, rice, maize and all her other belongings were all burnt down. Also, another house belonging to Umaru Tula, an indigene of Gombe State, was set alight. He told Daily Trust on Sunday the attackers forced their way into the house and set two rooms on fire. “When my wife sensed the danger, she gathered the children and hid in one of the rooms. Luckily for them the attackers did not check the room after setting the house on fire. They were later rescued by my Muslim neighbour who took them to his house and later called others and they put out the fire. I thank God because no member of my household was killed or injured,” he said. Another victim, Mrs. Lydia John also had her house burnt by the hoodlums. Mrs. Lydia who was found amidst sympathisers informed our correspondent that she escaped death by the whiskers as she hid somewhere when her house was attacked. Our correspondent learnt that most of the people whose houses were burnt by the attackers at Gudum Fulani were the few Christians living in the community. Abdullahi said the attacks were carried out by hoodlums who took advantage of a mere misunderstanding to unleash mayhem.
“I am very disturbed by the attacks because we have been living in peace with one another. But I am happy with the prompt response by Governor Mohammed Abubakar and the security agencies,” the community leader noted. Recounting his ordeal, community leader of Gudum Sayawa, said he went to the area to calm nerves when an object was suddenly hurled at him in the face, knocking out his teeth. He dismissed the allegations that he went to attack people at the Jumu’at Mosque, saying he was there to meet other community leaders who he learned were also there to mediate. Our correspondent observed that although normalcy was gradually returning, there was still tension as most people were suspicious of one another. However, the presence of security agents and the curfew had helped in preventing further escalation of the crisis. Unfortunately, there are counter-accusations by the communities of being behind the crisis. It was gathered that Gudum Hausawa is the earliest settlement among the three but there are no marked boundaries to differentiate. According to Gudum Hausawa community leader, Mai Unguwa Musa, said he is about 60 years old and was born in the community, trying to give an estimation of how old the settlement is. He said Gudum Fulani was the next to be founded be Fulanis. “The place was our forefather’s farmlands. The Fulanis bought it and settled and their number grew. As you can see we share border with them while they share border with Gudum Sayawa which came into being much later,” he said. He informed that Gudum Hausawa is under the jurisdiction of Ward Head of Dandango who is under the District Head of Miri while Gudum Fulani and Gudum Sayawa are under Sarkin Tirwun. To many observers, the recent crisis might have shattered the peace being enjoyed in the area for decades. There is mutual suspicion now among the hitherto peaceful neighbours. Normalcy will surely return to the three Gudums but the seed of discord sown by the crisis may take a longer time to ease. Tribal and religious sentiments may be used as tools for another round of crisis in the future but the people in these three communities must decide to bury the hatchet and live as good neighbours as they did in the past.