By Andrew Ajijah
Saturday’s mass killing of at least 86 people who were attending a funeral event in Plateau state was an act of revenge following an earlier attack, the cattle rearers’ group, Miyetti Allah, has said.
Police said 86 people were killed in several villages while six persons were injured in the attack that lasted between 1p.m. and 8p.m.
But residents said Monday over 120 people were massacred in separate attacks at different locations.
The state government has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in parts of the state, amid growing tensions between locals and migrant herdsmen community. Residents blame the attacks on Fulani herdsmen, a group represented by the Miyetti Allah.
On Monday, the chairman the north central chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Danladi Ciroma, condemned the attacks.
Mr. Ciroma however said in a statement that the attacks were “retaliatory”.
“These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of human being, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on revenge mission,” he said.
“Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks – 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled.”
The police said the attacks occurred in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. It almost led to reprisal attacks by in Jos, the state capital, on Sunday, with the government imposing a curfew.
A resident of Barkin Ladi had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that 120 people were killed by the attackers.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the police also confirmed that six persons were injured, with 50 houses razed.
“Eighty six (86) persons all together were killed, six people injured, fifty (50) houses burnt, fifteen (15) motorcycles burnt down; two (2) motor vehicles burnt down,” the police said in a statement by its spokesperson in Plateau, Terna Tyopev.
Mr Tyopev said bodies were discovered by a search party set up by the Plateau State commissioner of police, Undie Adie.
“Sequel to the attack in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) 23/06/2018 , the commissioner of police Plateau State Command, Jos, CP Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel to the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today for on the spot assessment,” it said.
Pam Chollom, a pastor of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), who blamed the attack on armed herdsmen, said most of the victims were returning from the burial of a community leader.
The attacks have been widely condemned.
The Plateau state chairman of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Nanyah Daman, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately replace all service chiefs.
“We strongly call on President Muhammadu Buhari who came on the mantra of Security,Corruption and Economic recovery to immediately sack and replace all the service chiefs and their paramilitary counterparts for allowing foreigners and the Fulani herdsmen terrorists to kill and maim defenceless children, women and men for four consecutive days unabated,” he said in a statement Monday.
The chairman of the northern zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Yakubu Pam, also condemned the killings.
The group called on the government at all levels to wake up to their primary responsibility of protecting the lives of citizens.
Meanwhile, authorities of the University of Jos have cautioned their students and staff to be watchful.
A statement by the principal assistant registrar, information and publications, Abdullahi Abdullahi, called particularly on students to avoid conflict prone and insecurity areas.
“Following the civil disturbances recorded in some parts of Plateau State and attendant tension generated, Staff and Students of University of Jos are being strongly advised to be watchful and careful when coming to school. They should avoid conflict prone and lonely routes,” he said.
The imposition of the curfew trapped hundreds of travelers along Abuja-Jos route, particularly delegates of the just concluded APC national convention held in Abuja.
Meanwhile, a violent protest, which occurred at Mararaban Jama’ar and at Zawan junction, Sunday afternoon in Jos South local government area, before the imposition of the dusk to dawn curfew, allegedly claimed nine lives.
Others were wounded by gun shots including a uniform personnel, shot at D/B Zang junction at Bukuru express-way by his colleague.
Two vehicles were said to have been set ablaze, with more than 20 cars were smashed. Many escaped death by the whiskers.
The director general of the Plateau State peace building agency, Joseph Lengma, in a live phone-in program on the state owned radio in Jos, on Monday confirmed that some persons lost their lives during the Sunday protest at Mararaban Jama’a roundabout.
Mr Lengma sued for peace and called on other peace building agencies to collaborate with government to end the violence.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that tension continued to build up in most parts of the state, as more dead bodies were said to have been recovered.
Most private primary schools located around Jos south were not opened on Monday.
Similarly, major shops and business centres around Bukuru, headquarters of Jos South, remained under lock and key at the time of filling in this report.
Meanwhile, security vehicles were seen patrolling some streets of Jos.