Community leader puts recovered bodies at 43 in Plateau clashes

Friday Olokor and James Abraham

3 August 2021

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Many people were feared killed on Monday following renewed violence in the Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Recall that clashes between some Fulani herdsmen and the indigenous Irigwe ethnic nationality had left no fewer than 13 persons killed from both sides with over 200 houses set ablaze between Saturday and Sunday.

It was gathered that during the Monday violence, suspected Fulani herdsmen allegedly invaded more communities in the Miango district and killed scores of natives, while others fled  their homes.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Irigwe Development Association, Lawrence Zongo, on Monday said, “While we are still mourning those killed in the previous attack, the Fulani militia herdsmen returned on Monday and attacked many more villages including  Chwuyeh, Ntiroku (Angwan Magaji), Isho (Kishisho), Gyeh (Kigam), Kangbro, Hwrra, Zirshe, Maiyanga, and Dundu.

 “A total of 43 dead bodies had been recovered from various communities attacked by Fulani militia on Monday. Over 20,000 of our people have been dislodged in an operation that lasted for more than six hours. Many were injured and hundreds of households razed.

“In  Isho village, five people were killed; Chuweh, six; Ntireku (Angwan Magaji),five; Ghey (Kigam),five; Kangbro,11; Dundu, two, and Hwrra /Mai-Yanga ,11. One soldier wasalso killed by the marauders.”

However, the Plateau state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Nura Muhammad, denied the involvement of herders in the renewed violence, saying, “Our settlement in Bwauna is calm.”

But our correspondent gathered that following the violence, the ANAN University in Kwall community in the Bassa LGA had been shut down.

A staff member of the university, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We were asked to stay at home pending when normalcy would return to the area. The community hosting the university has become militarised.”

Meanwhile, Governor Simon Lalong, has summoned an emergency security meeting on the violence in the communities.

The governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Macham Makut, in a statement on Monday said, “The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has tasked security agencies to take all necessary measures to stop the deteriorating security situation in Bassa and Riyom local government areas which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of houses, properties and farmlands.

“He has also summoned an emergency Security Council today (Tuesday, August 3), where he will receive further briefings and conduct detailed reviews to determine the next step of action.”

Youths begin #LalongMustGo campaign

A socio-cultural organisation under the aegis of Miango Youths Development Association on Monday commenced a campaign tagged, ‘Lalong Must Go’, or face impeachment in protest against the continued attack on citizens by suspected herdsmen.

The National Publicity Secretary of MYDA, Lawrence Zongo, expressed the concern in a voice message trending on the social media and also sent to The PUNCH in Abuja.

Makut, did not respond to calls, text and WhatsApp messages sent to him by our correspondents as of the time of filing this report.

Zongo said, “On August 2 (Monday), 2021, nine villages with over 20,000 persons were dislodged, leaving dozens killed and hundreds of houses razed.

Asked the reason for the campaign against the governor, he told The PUNCH that Lalong had failed to protect lives and properties in the state.

He said, “Governor Lalong must go! No fewer than 12,000 people have been killed since he came into power (in 2015).”

The state Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang, dismissed the Lalong-must-go campaign as undeserving of government attention.

“Government is doing everything possible to address the security challenge in that area. As I speak with you, a security meeting is ongoing at the Government House on how to address the problem,” he added

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