June 5, 2023

For decades, there has been repeated mass and isolated attacks by armed men on farming communities in the Plateau. While this has become a tragic trend, it usually escalates during each farming season when all the farmers increase the tempo of agricultural work on their farms. Apart from these attacks against the poor rural farmers, the farming communities are also ravaged by the persistent violent ethno-religious conflicts that routinely break out in the Plateau Metropolis. However, when peace-building efforts by state and non-state actors are able to mitigate violence of any form, the citizens are usually happy and make efforts to guard the resulting fragile peace in the state. But recently, crisis merchants and enemies of the state and its people have resumed their isolated attacks and killings of unarmed citizens who were going about their businesses.

This is even as the security agencies appear helpless in apprehending the masterminds before they strike. In the last two weeks, scores of people have been killed in the farming communities of Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Jos North, and Riyom local government areas, thereby raising fears among the people in the farming communities of the state. From Rawuru community, Tapo (in the Heipang district), Barkin Ladi; Kwi, Kuru Station (Wereng) in Riyom; Murish in Bokkos, and Jwak Maitumbi in Mangu local government area, families are mourning the killing of their loved ones in the night attacks. A resident of Rawuru, Micah, said the last attack occurred around 8.00 p.m. on Saturday and claimed the life of Dachung Luka, who was shot dead at the Rawuru junction. Micah lamented that at about the same time the following day, some armed men in transit shot and killed two people at Kuru Station, and residents also discovered a corpse at the Kwi community on Monday morning. The Heipang incident, in which four young men were killed, took place at about 9.00 p.m., and the deceased was buried on Monday. The ugly developments made the natives raise the alarm that many armed attackers had assembled at Sham, Wereng, Kum, Byei of Riyom LGA, and Farin Lamba and Dabwak (Kuru) in Jos South with the plan of launching an attack on them, and they cautioned their neighbours in Chaha, Rangyel, Kaduna Vom, and Chakarum, to be on the alert.

Although the police spokesman, DSP Alfred Alabo, could not be reached at the time of this report, the spokesman of Operation Safe Haven, OpSH, keeping the peace in the state, Capt. Oya James, said personnel of the OpSH are on the trail of the culprits.

However, Rwang Tengwong, the National Publicity Secretary of the Berom Youth Movement, lamented that no fewer than six persons were killed and two others injured on Sunday night during the coordinated attacks by Fulani militias on residents of the Wereng community in the Bachi District of Riyom LGA as well as Tapo village in Heipang District in Barkin Ladi LGA. Tengwong said: “Two persons were killed at Wereng, while four persons were killed at Tapo. The attacks were simultaneously coordinated between the hours of 8.00 and 10.00 p.m. At Wereng, a household was attacked, leaving one person dead and the other ambushed on his way to the Kwi community. At Tapo, nine youths were ambushed on their way home, four were killed and five escaped.

“The survivors said the attackers, who spoke Fulfulde, laid an ambush at Tapo forest, sporadically opening gunfire at them when the unsuspecting youths were returning home from Heipang, the district headquarters. Among those killed was a 24-year-old student of Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi campus, named Tapshak Guwus. When Tapo was attacked, distress calls were made to the vigilante, police and Operation Safe Haven, OpSH. The vigilante and police personnel responded by immediately rushing to the scene, but sadly the OpSH outrightly declined to make an appearance until about 8:00 a.m. on Monday with no convincing moral justification for not responding, which is quite unusual given its usual timely responses to such situations previously.”

Tengwong added that on Monday, “another dastardly act of ambush was meted out on Rev. Gwong Dachollom of Darwat at about 3:00 pm along the Darwat-Wereng Camp route, where he was hacked and his motorcycle taken away by the attackers; he is presently receiving.

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