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160 dead, 300 wounded in armed gangs attack

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By Usman Oladimeji

Over 20 different communities were targeted in the bandits attack.

As we celebrate the festivities of the Yelitude period, armed gangs launched a brutal assault on villagers in Plateau state, resulting in the tragic loss of numerous innocent lives. According to the state’s local government authorities, the armed gang mercilessly took the lives of at least 160 individuals through a series of assaults on different villages in central Nigeria. The count rose dramatically compared to the army’s initial report on Dec 24, which stated only 16 casualties in the region. As per the local chairman, the bandits initiated assaults in the Bokkos area, subsequently extending their violence into the neighbouring Barkin Ladi.

In the early morning hours of December 25th, the continuation of hostilities resulted in the tragic death of up to 113 individuals, according to Monday Kassah, the local government chairman in Bokkos, Plateau State. These devastating attacks, carried out by armed gangs commonly referred to as bandits, were meticulously coordinated and targeted over 20 different communities, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, with numerous homes set ablaze, Kassah confirmed. He revealed that over 300 injured individuals were discovered and subsequently transported to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi. The initial estimation provided by the local Red Cross accounted for 104 casualties dispersed across 18 villages within the Bokkos region.

Govt assured proactive measures gain at the persistent attacks.

Dickson Chollom, a member of the state parliament, provided grim news of multiple villages in the Barkin Ladi region where 50 people were tragically reported dead. In response to these horrifying attacks, Chollom vehemently denounced the perpetrators and urged the Security forces to take immediate action. He emphasized the strength of their collective resolve, stating, “We refuse to yield to the sinister methods employed by these purveyors of destruction. Our determination for justice and enduring harmony remains unwavering. According to the Chairman of Barkin Ladi local government area, Danjuma Dakil, a series of assault incidents commenced in the Bokkos region and subsequently extended to the Barkin Ladi area, and claimed the lives of 30 people.

Plateau State governor, Caleb Mutfwang, strongly condemned the brutal and barbaric violence that occurred on Dec 24, deeming it utterly unjustifiable. In a press statement, Gyang Bere, the governor’s spokesperson, stated that the government would implement proactive measures to tackle the persistent attacks targeting innocent civilians. A resident of Mushu village, Markus Amorudu said people were sleeping when they were shot. The sudden assault caught us off guard, filling us with fear and panic. To evade the assailants, people hurriedly sought refuge in hiding places. Unfortunately, numerous individuals fell victim to their capture, resulting in fatalities and injuries, as recounted by Amorudu in a conversation with AFP.

Bandit militias have plagued the region for a long period.

Commenting on these incidents, Amnesty International derided the government’s attitude toward addressing the persistent and lethal onslaughts targeting the rural areas of Plateau State, expressing their discontent via a message shared on X, previously known as Twitter. Bandit militias have plagued the regions of north-west and central Nigeria for a long period, instilling terror among the population. These groups establish their strongholds within dense forests and launch brutal attacks on villages, robbing and abducting residents in exchange for large sums of money.

President Bola Tinubu, in a statement posted on X, condemned the merciless assaults in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State. These despicable acts have led to an immense loss of life, leaving a deep sorrow. He stated that he has instructed Security Agencies to promptly initiate a thorough search across the entire region, with the objective of capturing those accountable for these horrific crimes. In addition, the president said he has initiated the prompt deployment of aid facilities for those who managed to survive and also guarantees that proper medical care will be extended to those injured.

Farmers, herders clash have escalated social tensions.

The clash between nomadic herders and farmers over natural resources has become more intense due to the combination of rapid population growth and climate pressures. This has further escalated social tensions and triggered outbreaks of violence. In the north-eastern region of Nigeria, a longstanding jihadist conflict has been ongoing since 2009. With Boko Haram engaging in a power struggle against groups affiliated with the Islamic State, this conflict has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and forcefully displaced approximately 2 million people.


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