February 4, 2023

31 people killed in Plateau State in January 2021

Coffins carrying three miners killed in Dong village on the outskirts of Bassa Local Government Area on 23 Jan 2022, buried on 26 Jan 2022

Jos Nigeria (31 January 2022): At least 31 people were killed by suspected terrorists seeking to takeover lands in Plateau State in January 2022.

Militants armed with assault rifles carried out at least seven attacks including daylight ambushes and kidnappings in different parts of the State within the month. The attacks occured under the watch of a large military Task Force.

Securities always claimed prompt action during attacks but no suspects have been prosecuted.

Ten days after President Muhammadu Buhari boasted that terrorists were surrendering due to heightened military raids, four people were killed in two isolated attacks in the State.

A couple working in a farm close to Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area was sprayed with bullets on the evening of 10 Jan.

Civilian watchmen raced to the scene at the sound of gunshots after the terrorists had killed the man and left the woman for dead.  

Tensions enveloped the small farming town toward night fall, after three people were killed in nearby Riyom LGA on same evening.

Five youths traveling on motorcycles were ambushed close to Rantis village in Riyom at about 9pm according to Mr. Solomon Dalyop, the founder of Emancipation Center for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN) – a nongovernmental organization that tracks terrorist attacks. The two others survived with several bullet injuries.

A tribal association in Bassa – Irigwe Development Association reported spotting armed Fulani militias close to Ancha village allegedly planning an attack on the night of 10 Jan.

“The situation around the axis is tensed as the marauders have been spotted gathering in an attempt to unleash another terror,” said Mr. Danjuma Auta, the Secretary General of association in a statement.

Two days later, 500 armed militants including identified local Fulani residents killed 18 people in the Ancha town.

The attack began when the terrorists armed with assault rifles overpowered civilian watchers on the outskirts of the town, shooting and burning houses according to survivors.

Seven people were injured and over 100 houses razed in the attack which locals say lasted two hours without military intervention.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a press statement through his spokesman, Garba Shehu said the attack was retaliatory, calling local authorities to negotiate a truce.

The Plateau State Peace Building Agency followed up with a dialogue session involving Irigwe Christians and Fulani residents of Bassa within 24 hours.

But on 22 Jan, ten miners were attacked on the outskirts of Bassa. The attack on a bright evening in Dong village close to the Jos Wild Life Park killed four people and injured several others.

A family displaced in an attack in Ancha village in Bassa LGA on 12 Jan

The following day, three members of a family were killed in Rijiyan Giwa village in a southern  Shendam Local Government Area of the State.

The Nation reports Mr. Talwa Gobak, his wife, Nenpomwa Talwa Gobak and 12year-old daughter – Nyokdel Talwa Gobak were killed on the morning of 23 Jan when gunmen broke into their home.

Within the next 24hrs, three youths were killed in Adu village of Bassa. A survivor of the attack – Mr. Samson James said five of them traveling on motorcycles were sprayed with bullets at about 9pm by grass-laying ambushers.

The attacks in Plateau State were carried out by local Fulani residents seeking territorial takeover, supported by bandits fleeing military airstrikes in Nigeria’s northwest region said Istifanus Gyang, a member of the Nigerian Senate.

“For over two decades now. There are people that have displaced our communities, that have taken over farmlands, taken over the ancestral homes of people and they have settled there comfortably.

“It is these people that have settled here, displacing people violently, taking over farmlands that are being reinforced by others that are coming from elsewhere. They keep coming and the numbers are enlarging by the day,” Gyang said in an interview.

Terrorists are known to collaborate with others from different territories during attacks, said a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr. Bashir Makama to The Light Bearer.

“Once a while, if they have an area that is difficult to penetrate, they invite others to give support and at the end of the day they maybe pay them off,” he said.