Violence erupted over the weekend until early Tuesday in Plateau State, Nigeria, an area that has long suffered from religious and ethnic conflicts. The toll of lives lost in a string of assaults on rural communities has now soared to nearly 200, according to local officials who revealed the grim news on Wednesday. The survivors now begin to lay their loved ones to rest. On Wednesday, Monday Kassah, the local government leader in Bokkos, Plateau State, disclosed during a meeting with Nigerian vice president that the attacks had resulted in the death of 148 villagers from Bokkos.
Dickson Chollom, who is a representative of the state parliament, informed that numerous villages in the Barkin Ladi region also disclosed a tragic death toll of at least 50 individuals. Vice President Kashim Shettima addressed local authorities and displaced individuals, urging them to refrain from succumbing to divisive ideologies or fostering hatred towards their fellow citizens. He emphasised the significance of pursuing justice to safeguard their well-being and advised against falling into the allure of sectional tensions.
Not less than 20 communities have been affected by the assault.
Speaking further, Kassah expressed concerns regarding the potential escalation of the death count due to numerous individuals who are still unaccounted for. He revealed that about 500 individuals had suffered injuries, and thousands were rendered homeless. A series of meticulously orchestrated assaults had affected no less than 20 communities from Saturday evening until Monday morning. On late Monday afternoon, an individual who is familiar with the region positioned on the boundary between Nigerians predominantly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south reported that the echoes of gunshots were still resonating in the air.
On Tuesday, a substantial count of lifeless bodies was laid to rest, according to Timothy Nuwan, the vice president of the Church of Christ in Nations, who estimated the number to be 150. Numerous individuals fell victim to a brutal demise owning to the merciless slaughter. These heartless acts of violence transpired within the confines of their homes and in open spaces outdoors, as expressed by Nuwan. Also, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria expressed his dismay regarding the assaults, instructing security agencies to take immediate action by combing every area within the region and capturing the responsible individuals.
Social unrest and violent outbreaks must be tackled collaboratively.
Caleb Mutfwang, the governor of Plateau State, passionately urged for a collective approach in tracking down and capturing the individuals accountable for these atrocious deeds. For a considerable period now, the regions of northwest and central Nigeria have endured incessant acts of terror inflicted by bandit militias, who cunningly establish their strongholds within dense forests. These heartless perpetrators relentlessly invade villages, plundering the livelihoods of innocent inhabitants and holding them hostage until outrageous ransoms are paid.
The clash over natural resources between the nomadic herders and farmers has worsened due to the combination of increasing population growth and climate challenges. This has escalated social unrest and triggered violent outbreaks. In northeastern Nigeria, a long-standing militant conflict has been ongoing since 2009, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals and the displacement of approximately two million people. Boko Haram, in its quest for dominance, has been engaged in a relentless struggle against competing factions associated with the Islamic State organisation.
Conflict, insecurity, and others might increase levels of hunger.
However, ever since assuming office in May, Tinubu has placed great emphasis on addressing the issue of insecurity. This is a strategic move to promote and attract foreign investments in Nigeria, a country known for its substantial population. In a recent development, the World Food Programme of the United Nations issued an alert on Wednesday, cautioning that the interplay of conflict, insecurity, inflation, and climate change might substantially increase levels of hunger in Nigeria over the next year.