June 29, 2021: At least four people have been killed in separate farming communities in Central Nigeria’s Plateau State.
The attacks in Bassa and Riyom areas occured one week after the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong launched newly purchased patrol vehicles for Police to “tackle criminal activities and resurging attacks” in the State.
President of Irigwe Development Association, Mr. Robert Ashi told our Correspondent that a pregnant woman and her 7year-old daughter were killed in Zanwhra Community of Miango District of Bassa LGA on Sunday, June 26, 2021.
A aged man was also killed in the attack which occured at about 8:20pm, said Robert in a text message.
“The attack affected the residence of Mr. Bitrus Gado where Rifkatu Friday aged 25yrs (34-week pregnant), Ladi Friday aged 7yrs, Minchwe Gado aged 86yrs were feared killed while Lami Bitrus and Friday Bitrus sustained gunshots injuries and are currently receiving treatment at ENOS Hospital Miango,” Robert said.
A youth leader in the community, Ezekiel Bisi said a “known Fulani gunman” was identified among the assailants.
“According to eye witnesses who survived the attacks, a known Fulani gunman by name Hashimu Hudu A.K.A Terry G. was the leader of the attack,” said Ezekiel in a text message.
Mr. Musa Agah, the lawmaker representing Irigwe/Rukuba constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly confirmed the attack to our Correspondent.
The “coordinated attacks” are aimed at as “land grabbing”, said Musa. “Obviously the fulanis are simply out for land grabbing, that’s why they are relentless in their efforts,” said the official in a text message.
Musa feared the attacks on farming communities could lead to create humanitarian crisis.
“At the moment, people are scared of going to the farm, a situation which if allowed to continue would likely affect food production and ultimately cause food shortage and famine,” said Musa.
In nearby Riyom, a middle age man identified as Bitrus Manzere was killed near a military station.
Mr. Solomon Mwantiri, a Human Rights Lawyer and Chief Executive Officer of a local non-governmental organization, Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria told our Correspondent that Bitrus was ambushed by herdsmen at about 8pm on Monday, May 28, 2021, along Makera – Jol village road, “few metres to Sector 6 Headquarters of Operation Safe Haven (Military Task Force).”
On Monday, June 21, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Alkali Baba alongside Governor Simon Lalong launched 50 new patrol vehicles and 200 security motorcycles purchased by the State Government, to increase security response “towards tackling criminal activities and resurging attacks on innocent citizens.”
“While commending the security agencies for doing their best to tackle such attacks and other criminal activities, he expressed deep concern over the inability to prevent isolated killings or arrest the perpetrators in some cases. He told the police and other security agencies that he does not want to hear unknown gunmen (attacking communities) again in Plateau State,” said a press statement received from the Governor’s Director of Press, Makut Simon.
The Inspector General of Police Ibrahim assured that pledged to increase the manpower of the Police in the State for faster response.
Over 3,000 trained vigilantes were also launched to aid in intelligence gathering. But locals in both Bassa and Riyom say no security operative responded to distress calls during the attacks.
Inquiries sent to the Plateau State CommissionerCommissioner of Police, Mr. Edward Egbuka, his spokesperson, Gabriel Uba, and the spokesperson of the Military Task Force in the State, Shittu Mustapha were not responded to as of the time of publishing this report.