June 19, 2021

Herdsmen kill nine villagers during Plateau lockdown

A mass grave of attack victims in Hura hamlet

Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, Tuesday killed nine villagers in Plateau State, including four children, ages 3-7 and a pregnant woman.

Tens of “Fulfulde speaking men,” locals say attacked Hura hamlet in Maiyanga village of Kwall District, Bassa Local Government Area with machetes and AK-47 rifles, at about 8pm local time.

Firing from the far bushes as they approached the native’s houses, the men chanted “Allahu Ak’bar, screaming on top of their voices,” said a survivor, Mrs. Hanatu John.

“We all ran out and they chased after us with more gunfire, burning our houses behind. We escaped with only our night wears on,” Hannatu, a pregnant mother of five said.

Some adults were shot, and children hacked by their houses, said a local vigilante official.

Others were killed along a narrow path that leads to the main Maiyanga village, the vigilante official who pleaded anonymity said.

“When I first heard the gunshots, I immediately evacuated my family and warned others to avoid the roads because I knew they would have positioned themselves to take out those escaping.

“This morning we saw corpses of people killed along the path and I know they were caught while trying to escape,” he said.

The attack is one among many recorded in the locality this year.

“I am losing many of my people every day. The government keeps making promises to secure our communities but we still see them (assailants) coming and carrying out attacks unchallenged,” the Village Chief of Kwall District, Rev. Ronku Aka (rtd) said.

Last week Wednesday, April 8, 2020, armed assailants killed four people including a newly ordained Pastor of Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Pastor Matthew Tagwai, in Ngbra-Zongo village, northwest of Meyango, the Kwall District headquarters.

Earlier on 31st March 2020, three people including a pregnant woman were killed in Ncha village, located 5miles away from Ngbra-Zongo village. The next day, 1st April, 2020, three others were killed in neighbouring Nkiedow-hro village and seven in Hukke village.

The attacks were preceded by several others, mostly isolated ambushes, including one on a military patrol team.

Worse than coronavirus

According to His Royal Highness, Ronku Aka, the Hura hamlet attack coming during a statewide lockdown declared by state authorities to guard against Coronavirus, proves the villagers were “endangered species”.

HRH Ronku Aka

“We are facing two monumental killers – killer herdsmen and coronavirus. We are asked to stay at home to be safe from coronavirus but worse than the threat of coronavirus, we are still being killed by herdsmen. This makes us endangered species in every respect,” said the Chief.

Mr. Ako wondered why the same urgency given to the management of coronavirus would not be given to the herdsmen attacks.

He said, “If coronavirus is being tackled with urgency because it affects both the high and low, when the lower class is completely wiped out, who will those in government govern? After all, when they finish dealing with those of us in the villages, they too will not be spared.”

The Chief fears “hunger epidemic” this year, with the attacks forcing more rural farmers relocate to the urban areas.

As of the time of filing this report, military Task Force personnel and Police Officials were seen trouping to the village.

No official comment has however been obtained on the attack.