Six LGAs under threat of heightened attacks in Plateau State, youths allege

Nigerian youth on 29 April alleged that terrorists are planning to increase armed attacks on Christian communities in Plateau State in the coming days. 

Large groups of hired mercenaries have set up camp in seven locations throughout the northern and central regions of the State in preparation for the attacks, said a coalition of three local youth organizations in the State. The group’s concerns were made known at a news conference in the State capital of Jos.

The youth are calling on communities to arm themselves and defend against the attacks in the face of what they allege is military’s complicity with terrorists.

The alarm comes days after women and youth protested against the military’s failure to defend communities against attacks.

As many as 5,000 women and young people rallied near Jos on Wednesday to demand that soldiers vacate the area. This followed an evening attack the previous day that killed six locals, just hours after soldiers had been alerted to the threat.

“These attacks are meant to disrupt farming activities, economic livelihoods, displace population and grab lands in communities,” said Mr. Lot Sunday Adas, the Chairman of the Plateau State Youth Council.

“Unfortunately for residents in all villages and Hamlets of Plateau State, response of security agencies, particularly the military has always come too late and too little to save their lives despite advance warnings sent to them,” the youth leaders said Adas.

Mr. Adas read the text of the press conference on behalf of his colleagues – Mr. Dekete Joshua Paul, the Chairman of the Coalition of Plateau State Indigenous Youths and as Mr. Markus Kanda,  the Chairman of the Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau State.

According to Adas, there has been an influx of “armed Fulani” [militants] in seven Christian communities that have been seized by terrorists in the Riyom and Bokkos Local Government Areas in recent days.

The Fulani, a group with a population of up to 10 million in Nigeria, includes militants who have been accused of carrying out numerous genocidal massacres throughout the country. According to the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust [HART], an international monitoring group based in the United Kingdom, this group is responsible for three times as many killings as Boko Haram terrorists.

The terrorists camping in Shonong, Bangai, Guava, Fass and Rankum [also known as Mahanga] villages in Riyom as well Josho in Bokkos LGA according to Adas are “planning coordinated attacks and killings in [the] Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South and Bassa LGAs of Plateau State.”

Terrorists have carried out 14 attacks in Plateau State this month, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 people and destruction of several properties, including farm crops, Adas said. Both the police and military failed to protect the civilians despite receiving several warnings prior to the attacks, he said, calling for the military, which has a large task force in the state, to leave local villages.

“The Operation Safe Haven [military task force] has compromised on several occasions and therefore, should be substituted with the Mobile Police in all the affected areas given their proactive and more effective response to distress calls,” he said.

“All villages and hamlets should initiate immediate measures that would guarantee the security of  their lives and properties, and work in synergy with neighboring Communities  in order to contain the Fulani onslaughts,” he added, calling for the release of residents illegally detained by security forces.

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