For several hours on Saturday, suspected armed herders opened fire on villagers in some communities in Plateau State, killing over 100 people.
Pam Chollom, Pastor in charge of Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN) Regional Church Council (RCC) in Rop, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, said members of the church who were returning from the funeral service of a member’s father were attacked.
Chollom said the gunmen killed 34 persons from Nekan village, 39 from Kufang, and 47 people from Ruku village.
He said the killing started about 1:00 p.m. and lasted till about 8:00p.m on Saturday.
But the Police Command in the state confirmed the killing of only 11 persons in attacks on Razat, Ruku, Nyarr, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.
Also hit were Daffo and Kuba communities in Bokkos Local Government Area.
Terna Tyopev, the command’s spokesman, told newsmen on Sunday, in Jos, that many other villages were hit by the gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
“The gunmen invaded the villages on Saturday and killed several people. Based on the number of corpses recovered and buried, we can confirm 11 killed,” he said.
He said, however, that more people might have died because many families had buried their dead relatives before the policemen arrived.
Tyopev said some dead bodies had been deposited at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) mortuary, adding that security had been beefed up in the affected villages to restore peace.
According to him, “On the 23rd of June, 2018, at about 1600 hours, one Danladi Bwode of Exland LGA of Plateau State, went to the Police Division in Barkin Ladi and reported that on the same date at about 1400 hours unknown gunmen attacked their village and shot the following: Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noson Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bukus, and Ladi Danladi.”
He said the command, after receiving the information, mobilised additional men from other divisions to the district.
However, Jatau Davou, the National Publicity Secretary of Berom Youth Molders, told newsmen in Jos, on Sunday afternoon, that over 100 corpses had been recovered with many still being discovered in nearby bushes and rocks in Berom, Barkin Ladi local government areas and neighbouring communities.
He alleged that among the corpses that were recovered, Shonum had 33, while 31 was recorded in neighbouring villages of Exland, 34 in Garnarok village, and 8 other corpses from another village.
He said so many of their children were currently receiving treatment in various hospitals in town and that several homes were razed by the gunmen.
Capt. Umar Adams, spokesman of ‘Operation Safe Haven’, the military task force maintaining peace in Plateau, who also spoke on the attacks, described them as “unfortunate”.
“We are aware of the unfortunate attacks, but I cannot confirm how many people were killed,” he told newsmen.
Following the tragic development, the Plateau State government on Sunday imposed a curfew on Jos South, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom local government areas of the state to contain further incidents.
Rufus Bature, Secretary to Plateau State government, in a statement issued in Jos on Sunday afternoon, said curfew imposed by the state government was from 6:00pm to 6:00am.
According to him, only those workers operating essential services were unaffected by the curfew.
Meanwhile, Governor Simon Lalong has charged security agencies to double their efforts toward ending the persistent attacks on rural communities in the state.
A statement signed by Yakubu Dati, Commissioner for Information and Communication, said that the governor rushed to the state on Sunday, cutting short his participation in the ongoing All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja.
It quoted Lalong as describing the incessant attacks as “devastating”.
“The governor has directed security agencies to end the attacks and apprehend the assailants. He has also challenged them to be proactive so as to restore stability to Plateau,” the statement said.
It further quoted Lalong as commiserating with families of the victims and promising to settle the bills of those injured and in hospitals.
Rev. Yakubu Pam, Northern CAN Chairman, in a statement in Jos, Sunday afternoon, condemned the killing of innocent citizens of the state by those he called crisis merchants.
According to Pam, the state government and security agencies in the state should do all they could to arrest the perpetrators of the evil act.
Other people who spoke to newsmen expressed the likelihood that more corpses would be recovered as the search continued.
Also, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it received with rude shock the level of genocide in Gashish District, Razat, Ruku Nyarr, and Gana-Ropp, all in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
The PDP, in a statement issued in Jos and signed by John Akans, its Publicity Secretary, alleged that over 130 people were killed by the enemies of the state between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Part of the statement reads: “We condemn in the strongest terms the level of continuous genocide of Plateau people.
“At the moment, Barkin Ladi is under siege by these marauders with over 130 people feared to have been killed.
“As at the time of this statement, the (SOM) CAPRO School of Missions, Gana-Ropp, is under heavy attack by these militias.”
The party pointed out that Governor Lalong’s continued display of dead conscience towards Plateau people should be seen as a collective collaboration against the people.
It warned that the unholy act of systematic genocide and the destruction of the cultural heritage of plateau people must stop.
According to the PDP, while this unfortunate and deliberate attempt to wipe out Plateau people was systematically going on daily, “the absentee-governor, Simon Lalong” had been away for three weeks.
No fewer than 10 persons have been reportedly killed in a fresh violent clash between Izzi people of Ebonyi State and their neighboring communities in Cross River State.
It was gathered that the armed men from Cross River at the weekend attacked their Ebonyi neighbours and killed many people including a pregnant woman and two children with many buildings and property destroyed.
The boundary dispute between the two states has been on for many years now with all efforts at resolving the crisis proving abortive.
In a swift reaction on Sunday, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi described the killings as unacceptable and an attempt to annihilate the people of Ebonyi by their Cross River neighbours.
He lamented that the state has been at the receiving end of the war, adding that yesterday’s killing has “further vindicated my earlier outcry that there was unabated war to eliminate our people at the border communities”.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, Governor Umahi called on the security agencies to quickly do the needful whilst he expressed optimism that his Cross River counterpart, Ben Ayade, will help in finding amicable solution to the crisis.
“Yesterday killing is unacceptable to me as the chief security officer of my people and one whose constitutional duty is to ensure security of lives and property of my people. Therefore I call on Mr. President to revisit my earlier outcry over the systematic war going on between the people of Izzi and Cross River State and save my people from annihilation.
He also called on all security agencies to come to their aid by bringing a lasting solution to the killings while he expressed optimism that his brother governor, Ben Ayade, will help in amicable resolution of the crisis”.