Gunmen attack IDPs, kill 29 children, women
Gunmen yesterday killed 29 people, who were mostly children and women, during attack on an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Nkiedonwhro village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The massacre came barely 48 hours after the imposition of curfew by the administration of Governor Simon Lalong.
President of Irigwe Youth Movement, Mr. Ayuba Chinge, who spoke with our correspondent, said the gunmen stormed the LGEA Primary School where women and children were camped following the recent burning of the village and started shooting at the people.
He said: “Twenty-six people were killed in the classroom while three persons found outside the classrooms were killed when they were trying to escape into safety from attackers.
“This same village is under dusk till dawn curfew, but how the attackers came and killed innocent children and women is a question that we cannot give answer to. Let those in authorities should answer the whole world.”
One of the witnesses, who gave his name as Bako, claimed the victims were ushered into the classroom by security operatives before their summary execution by gunmen.
He said: “Those who were killed were given mass burial while those injured are receiving medical attention in various hospitals in Bassa.
“Our leaders have all gone into hiding when we needed them the most. We only see them when they want our votes, we are now being killed like animals in our home land and the security agencies cannot protect us any longer.”
It was learnt that schools in Bassa Local Government Area have been closed down as a result of the killings.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Tyopev Terna, said a village in the local government was attacked but could not give the number of persons killed, those injured and houses razed.
He said: “The Commissioner of Police in the state is on-the-spot assessment of the attacked village and we would brief the press soon.”
Meanwhile, the member representing Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Kwande, has called on the Federal Government to investigate the killing.
In a statement, Kwande condemned the killing and described it as unfortunate, particularly now that peace had returned to the state after a decade of violence.
He said: “The new turn of killing of innocent people in Bassa Local Government Area in recent time is very unfortunate and disheartening. The natives of the locality in the last few weeks have suffered unprovoked attacks that resulted to the killing of innocent people.
“I call on the Federal Government to set up a committee to investigate the fresh killing on innocent persons, including children, women, men and aged in a primary school where they were taking refuse.
“Enough is enough of the killing in Maingo, Bassa Local Government Area and the entire Plateau State. Security agencies must wake up to their constitutional responsibility of protecting lives in the state. This evil must be stopped, enough of all the killings.”
Kwande called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the affected community.
The lawmaker also urged the Federal Ministry of Health and the state Ministry of Health to move to the affected villages and provide treatment to the victims.
The Northern Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the killings.
The Chairman of Northern CAN, Rev. Yakubu Pam, who issued a statement in Jos yesterday, expressed worry over the killings of innocent people and called for immediate action by the Federal Government to bring lasting peace to the affected communities.
Meanwhile, the Irigwe Development Association of Bassa Local Government Area yesterday disclosed that Fulani herdsmen killed 63 persons from September to October in eight villages of the council area.
The group held a press conference yesterday evening at the NUJ Secretariat in Jos.
The Chairman of the association, Hon. Sunday Abdu, said the continuous gruesome attacks on the Irigwe communities was a calculated attempt to wipe out the tribe from the face of the earth by the Fulani herdsmen.
He said: “It is painful to note that all these happened despite useful and timely information provided to security personnel regarding movement and mode of operation of the assailants.
“Since the gruesome attacks of Ncha village on the 7th September, 2017 where over 20 people, mostly children and women, and houses razed, the community has not known peace.
“Here are details of some of the attacks after Ncha: Two people were killed on the 9th September in Huke village. On 8th October, one person was killed in Nkie Dongwro village, while it continued on 10th October, 2017 where a young man was allegedly killed by a mobile policeman at Kpachudu village and three people were also killed on 11th October at Nzehweruvo and Tafigana.
“Also on the 12th October, houses were razed down. On 14th October, six people were killed and five injured while on 16th October, 29 persons, mostly children and women, killed, while three were injured at a school used as a camp and protected by security in Nkyie Doghwro village.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military high command to immediately draw up a plan that will end civilian clashes in Plateau State which has claimed several lives.
The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he received with deep sadness and regret, news of the recent killings of at least 20 people in Plateau State, during what has been described as a reprisal by some herdsmen.
Buhari said he believed that this madness had gone too far.
He therefore instructed the military and the police to not only bring the violence to an instant end, but to draw up a plan to ensure that there are no further attacks by one group against the other.
Military Special Task Force (STF) code named Operation Safe Haven deployed to restore law and order in Plateau has said it will investigate the involvement of soldiers on duty at the Nkiedonwhro village when the villagers were attacked and 29 persons by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders.
The Commander of the taskforce, Major General Anthony Atolagbe, who revealed this when he went for on-the-spot assessment of the attack in the village said the soldiers have been sent to the headquarters of the task force for proper investigation on how the attack took place in the village under their watch, especially that curfew was imposed on the village and they were supposed to restrict movement in the locality.