At least one hundred and fifty people have been feared dead and ten thousand displaced in Plateau State, on Christmas Eve after an attack on communities in three local government areas of the state.In reaction to the gruesome act, President Bola Tinubu, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Med and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, condemned the attacks and ordered a manhunt for the killers…..CONTINUE READING
Tinubu assured Nigerians that “these envoys of death, pain, and sorrow will not escape justice,” while condoling with the government and the people of Plateau State.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Kefas Mallai, has confirmed that over 150 were killed by the gunmen, after the President ordered the arrest of the killers.
According to Mallai, information indicated that the gunmen were still attacking some villages, adding that over 10,000 people were displaced by the attacks, which had attracted strong condemnation by prominent groups and individuals including northern governors and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.
On Sunday, gunmen stormed Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state burning houses and shooting residents.
On Tuesday, the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Mallai, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Over 150 people were killed in the attacks. In Bokkos town alone, more than 10,000 people are taking refuge in churches, mosques, schools, and private residences.”
Although the state government also revealed that over 100 people were killed, while the police put the death toll at 96.
Unfortunately, the incident changed the atmosphere during the Christmas celebration as state Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, during an interview on Channels television on Tuesday said, “This has indeed been a very gory Christmas for us. We have had to celebrate with a heavy heart. Just when people had finished preparing for Christmas celebrations, unprovoked attacks were unleashed on several of our communities.
“As I’m talking to you, in Mangun Local Government alone, we buried at least 15 people. So far this morning in the Bokkos Local Government, we were counting not less than 100 corpses. I have yet to take stock of that of Barki-Ladi. Most of the communities affected in Barki-Ladi share a border with the Bokkos Local Government. ‘’
He further disclosed that no fewer than 64 communities in the state had been displaced by terrorists who were occupying schools in the local government area.
He said, “When people are dislocated from their villages and they have to run for shelter, now we are struggling to provide shelter for these people that have been displaced and dislocated from their communities.
“If they stay away from those communities for a sustained period, the terrorists would come in. As I am talking to you today (Tuesday), in the Riyom Local Government and in Barkin Ladi Local Government, schools have been occupied by these terrorists for almost a number of years now. We have not less than 64 communities that have been displaced and their lands have been taken over by these terrorists.”
“Under the last regime, the feeling among people in Plateau State particularly the victims of these terrorist attacks is that it looks as if the terrorists were given official government backing to be able to terrorise them because little or nothing was done to repel these attacks.
“I can tell you these schools that are being occupied, it didn’t just start now, some of those schools have been occupied in the last three, four, five years.
“Children therefore in those schools have not been able to go to school. They have to relocate. We even have primary health care centres abandoned because of these terrorists which means that our health care system is put in jeopardy; what do we need to do? I think this is where the President needs to come in,” he added.
The governor noted the flaws in the state’s security architecture, which he said required some tinkering.
He added, “The reason we have enjoyed relative peace up until this moment is because of the kind of arrangements we put in place. But obviously, it shows that those arrangements are not adequate. What we have had to do is motivate the security agencies on the ground to make sure that they perform optimally.
“And I would say to some extent that I give credit to the Nigerian Army, other security agencies, and the mobile police that have been deployed to the conflict areas. Sometimes, when you think you are achieving the target, you probably relax a little bit, because, for me, security is not the presence of security personnel; it is the absence of conflict. Unfortunately, we have had to also engage in a lot of non-kinetic methods.
“We have had engagements with community leaders to identify potential areas of conflict and nip them in the bud. We have been trying to build communal harmony, and to a large extent, we have succeeded. But, with the breach that we have experienced in the last few days, it means that some people are not happy with the progress we have made.’’
The governor expressed sadness over the breakdown of the peace pact signed by the indigenous communities and Fulani leaders.
He disclosed that the attacks were well coordinated and executed with heavy weaponry even as he admitted that unravelling the masterminds was beyond him.
On its the Plateau State Police Command on Tuesday disclosed that a total of 96 persons were killed while 221 houses were set ablaze during the attacks.
The state Commissioner of Police Okoro Alawari, disclosed this in a statement signed by the Command’s spokesman, Alfred Alabo…..CONTINUE READING