January 27, 2023

Plateau: ‘Herdsmen’ ambush four, kill one after ravaging crops

Mother of slain kid in middle sits devastated

Central Nigeria: Suspected herdsmen on Tuesday killed a new father of three months-old baby, Mr. Francis Gyang in Plateau State’s Wereng village of Riyom Local Government Area.

Gyang, 25, was ambushed along with three others near a public secondary school by men armed with guns and machetes, a survivor, Friday Gyang said.

“They were likely to be up to ten, armed with guns, machetes and herding sticks.

“When we approached their location, they started shooting at us, chasing after us as we scaped into nearby maize farms,” said Mr. Friday.

Francis Gyang found dead by roadside

Francis, likely shot before others escaped was Wednesday found dead by the roadside with his intestines open, and several stab wounds in his neck and face.

Torchlights and herding sticks believed to belong to the ambushers were recovered from the scene of the murder but Police have yet to make any arrest.

Last Friday, over 32 farm lands with matured crops were mowed down and grazed upon in the same village by people believed to be herders.

Cattle droppings and footmarks leading from an area occupied by the leader of the Fulani community in the area, appear in all ravaged farms measuring at least 1hectare each.

Both the leader identified as Ardo Ya’u and his herd were away, when affected farmers went to report the crimes, early Saturday, it was learnt.

He however told Police on Monday when investigations started that he handed his cattle to hired herders the evening of the destructions but would not produce them.

Police had fixed Thursday for resumed interrogations before the murder occurred but there is no clear link between the two crimes yet.

Locals however say the murder might be a retaliation against the reporting of the crop devastations to Police.

Two similar murders were reported last week in Riyom neighboring Tashek hamlet of Kuru district in Jos South Local Government Area after Police forced the payment of damages on a herder caught grazing in crop farms.

Another murder had occurred in April 2020 of a community leader in nearby Daffo village of Bokkos LGA after Police were invited to investigate a case of indiscriminate grazing and assault by herders.

The Wereng ambush is however a yearly occurrence, Mr. Davou Gyang, the community leader said.

“Since the Jos crisis of September 7, 2001, we have hardly had a peaceful September in this village,” he said.

Government is slow to respond to the threats and the villagers are growing impatient, Mr. Nuhu Daniel, a former Councillor of Wereng ward said.

“We don’t want a situation where our youths will be forced to take the law into their hands,” said Daniel.

Indiscriminate self-help, Barr. Solomon Dalyop, an Activist with the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria said could less to “anarchy” if allowed.