More than 11 people have been reported killed in a third attack on villages in the Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State in one week.
Residents say several people were injured in the late evening attack in Wumat village which also saw close to 20 houses razed. The village is located 5miles northeast of Bokkos town and sits in the center of Kwatas, a community of 5000 residents ravaged by terror raids in January 2020.
The immediate past commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning who is a native of the village is among residents whose houses were razed according to sources.
Authorities had yet to confirm any arrest following two days of armed attacks in the market town of Maikatako located 10miles from Kwatas on 16 and 17 November when more than 200 armed terrorists reportedly swarmed over Dadin Kowa, a small hamlet in the farming town of Wumat on 23 November, killing at least ten people including babies.
A former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Titus Alams said the attack left several residents injured and properties razed.
“As usual, they burned houses, cars and motorcycles,” he said, in a phone call, blaming the concentration of securities in a town close to Bokkos for the high casualty.
“It started from Fakkos where they attacked one house and securities were mobilized. But while the securities focussed on Fakkos, they went and invaded Wumat and you know the nature of our roads. Before securities could arrive, the damage had been done,” he said.
A resident of the village who witnessed the attack, Mr. John Goshe said the terrorists numbering more than 200 encircled the village at about 10:15pm, shooting and burning houses.
The attackers who according to him spoke the Fulani dialect were made of several groups which marched together throughout the raid.
“One group had guns,” he said in a telephone interview. “That group was at the forefront. Another group carried bags of ammunition while another group carried fuel with which they burned houses. There were other people who stood in the bushes and on the roads targeting people who tried to escape,” he added.
Goshe who said he lost four relations in the attack, including three who were burned in a house, noted the family house of the immediate past commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning in Plateau State, Sylvester Wallamko was also razed.
Mr. Wallamko, a House of Assembly aspirant who hails from the village did not answer phone calls for confirmation. But social media photos from the scene of the attack show Wallamko standing in different burnt houses amid large crowds.
The attack followed days after a similar attack in the market town of Maikatako, located 10miles from Kwatas killed 11 people. The attack by 300 terrorists according to witnesses saw five houses and a Church razed.
The attack on 16 November was immediately followed by another invasion of a nearby Folloh — a village of 3mins drive from Maikatako which killed at least one person and razed 20 houses.
Governor Simon Lalong had on 17 November ordered the arrest of the attackers of Maikatako. Major Ishaku Takwa, the military spokesman in Jos confirmed the Governor’s orders were already being carried out as of 6pm of the same day. But less than four hours later, terrorists invaded four surrounding villages before descending on Folloh village after meeting resistance.
The attacks in Bokkos according to Solomon Maren, the member representing Mangu/Bokkos constituency in the Nigerian House of Representatives are aimed at ethnic displacements.
“This is a systematic, well coordinated and pre-planned attack aimed at total ethnic cleansing and annihilation of indigenous inhabitants towards a slow land grabbing agenda,” wrote Maren in a statement.
“Just within a month; we have buried more than 30 men and women including children.
“Over 300,000 hectares of crop farmlands have been destroyed by the herders due to deliberate and reckless grazing without caution and or fear of any body. Most farmers had little or no harvest due to this wicked action of unscrupulous herders,” he wrote.