September 26, 2021

“Soldiers found my motorcycle with herdsmen day after I was attacked and left for dead” – Plateau student

Masara Damla Dickson, attacked by herdsmen

Masara Damla Dickson, a student of Federal College of Education, Pankshin, in Central Nigeria, was two weeks ago violently attacked and left for dead by unidentified armed men. He was riding on a motorcycle along Butura Kampani – Kunet road in Bokkos Local Government Area, Plateau State at about 8pm local time, when the ambushing herdsmen jumped at him from the bushes, trapping him on a narrow bridge.

“I felt a heavy blow on my head and fell down. What happened thereafter I don’t know,” said Damla. He regained consciousness hours after the attack, to find that he had been battered with clubs and machetes on the head and other parts of the body, and had lost lots of blood.

His phone, motorcycle, money and other valuables were carted away, making it hard to call for help. He however crawled for hours, till he reached home, more than a mile away. Rushed to a cottage hospital in Bokkos LG headquarters, Doctors referred the bleeding victim to a more equipped hospital in the Plateau State capital, some 45 miles away, but was still not admitted, due to the severity of his injuries. Damla was only admitted in a federal hospital in the city, and was treated for 14 days.

The identity of his attackers was in doubt, until soldiers found his motorcycle in a nearby village in the hands of Fulani herdsmen, less than 24hrs after his attack. “My brother was riding to Mazareh (15miles from Kunet) and recognized the bike being rode by herdsmen. He sped ahead of them and notified soldiers at a checkpoint,” said Damla, a student of Integrated Science/Physics, currently at home due to the covid-19 pandemic.

This, though not enough to conclude, could not have been, without the suspects having some relationship with the attackers. Moreso, they attempted to escape when the security operatives motioned for them to stop. “They injured one of the soldiers who ran after them on foot without his weapon, grabbing one of them from the back. They struggled with the soldier and fled, leaving the bike behind,” Damla remembered his military brother who was tracking the case as saying.

The suspects escaped arrest and are still being tracked, but doing so might douse the fears of locals about their safety. The attack on Damla was one of many by herdsmen in the community, since media reports in September alleged plans to attack the locals. A similar attack in nearby Makale village a week earlier was repelled by proactive military Task Force Operatives.

“We feel unsafe, and cannot even go to our farms,” said a 60year-old widow, raising concerns on an “increasing” presence of strange herders in their community, who she said “graze indiscriminately” in ripe crop farms. It is however unknown if any formal report has been filed to law enforcements.