At least six people including a Pastor have been killed in Plateau State by terrorists battling to takeover communities according to locals.
The attacks in Bokkos and Riyom Local Government areas between 1st and 3rd March followed days after a controversial Presidential elections that saw a Muslim President emerging for the first time in the African most populous nation with a Muslim deputy.
The latest attack occurred on 3 March in the Riyom local government area where a Pastor was killed along with his two sons in Ganawuri district. Pastor Musa Hyok Mang, 64 was shot in his residence in Lilyung, a farming village on the southwest of Ganawuri, located 30miles southwest of Jos the capital of Plateau State.
A local Pastor, Rev. Buzang Deme who witnessed the attack said it occurred at about 11pm when residents were sleeping.
“I got to know my Pastor colleague was killed around 2am but initially we were only hearing rapid gunshots,” Deme, the Pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) Roi said in an interview.
According to him, the assailants spoke the dialect of the tribe. Late Pastor Mang’s wife who narrowly survived the attack was in pains and unable to speak when visited.
But prior to the attack, there were rumors of a planned attack by Fulani terrorists. This followed after two Fulani gangs clashes on 1st March in Ganawuri during the town’s weekly market which led to three deaths according to Rev. Andrew Moriah, the Chairman of COCIN Regional Church Council Riyom.
“Christians and Ganawuri were not involved and in fact we were the ones trying to intervene and stop further harm but they came back to attack us,” said Rev. Moriah who believes the attack was motivated by the quest to takeover the community.
“We have heard them saying they want to takeover this place just like they have seized the Atakar axis,” he said.
The Head of Civil Service in Plateau State official in Plateau State, Mr. Sunday Hyat confirmed the attack to The Light Bearer, noting the Pastor was targeted.
“The fight was between two Fulani groups but they came for a Pastor, bypassing several other houses because they knew he was a leader in that area,” said Hyat who was a relative of the late Pastor Mang.
The attack followed days after a similar raid of a mining site in the Bokkos local government area killed four residents .
The village had previously been attacked last November. Many residents have turned to artisanal tin mining to survive after their belongings including food crops were razed in the attack which killed at least one person. The mining site attack at 11pm has been condemned as ‘barbaric’ by local officials. The Commissioner of Higher Education in Plateau State, Prof. Bernard Matur who hails from the area during a visit to the village on 2 March however advised residents not to take laws into their hands.