gunmenNo fewer than 500 gunmen yesterday attacked Shonong village, Riyom local government area of Plateau state and burnt down the entire community.
The attack our correspondent gathered took place at about 10pm Thursday night while residents were preparing to go to bed.
According to a member of the community, Isaac Kahwun, who escaped and presently taking refuge in Riyom, “The gunmen came as usual and started shooting sporadically to announce their presence, this made residents to run out of their houses to find a way of escape.
“We sent a distress call to the special task force in charge of the village, the task force only succeeded in chasing the gunmen away.”
He said, “The security agents then advised the villagers to quit their houses and run to safer ground because the security agencies expressed fear they don’t have the arsenals to confront the gunmen if they come back at night.
“Given the scenario, all the villagers left their houses and took refuge in neighbouring villages. Later Thursday night the gunmen returned and set all the houses ablaze including two churches.
“In some houses where relief materials were kept to be distributed to victims of the earlier attacks, it was looted by the attackers while they set the remaining materials ablaze.
“Now more than 1,000 residents who fled their homes are sleeping in primary schools in neighbouring villages.”
It was learnt that the village of Shonong was attacked early last year in which 36 residents especially women and children were killed by some unknown gunmen.
The local government has made efforts to help the victims rebuild their burnt homes and resettle them but with the latest attack Thursday, all the rehabilitated houses and those that were not burnt in earlier attacks were razed by the gunmen.
The chairman of Riyom local government, Mrs. Josephine Piyo who attempted to visit the village and ascertain the level of destruction done was turned back by security agents, who cannot guarantee her safety.
The angry council chairman alleged that there are some kind of conspiracies between the security agents and the gunmen that raided Berom villages.
Mrs. Piyo said in anger, “In the past two months, more than ten villages in my local government have been attacked, several of them have been killed and the security are here watching without doing anything to defend the people or arrest the gunmen.
The council boss promised to mobilise the people of the local government to stage a protest in Abuja so as to draw the attention of the federal government to the plight of Riyom people.

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