No fewer than 19 persons were reported killed in Kadunung village of Mangu local government area of Plateau State when unknown gunmen stormed the area yesterday.
Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen, numbering over 100 had in the early hours of yesterday morning, invaded the village killing people and injuring several others.
The gunmen suspected to be Berom youths, also set houses ablaze.
According to the chairman, management committee of Mangu local government area, Hon Titus Bise, who confirmed the attack, over 150 houses were burnt by the attackers.
Hon Bise said, “After the attack, I was part of the rescue team that evacuated the victims and so far, we have recovered 11 bodies of people burnt in their houses.
“Apart from the 11 bodies we picked from various places, there was a compound where we saw 7 people burnt in their rooms. That makes 18 deaths so far, we are suspecting there are bodies in the bushes, some youths are still searching and more bodies might be recovered. But for now we have dead bodies which have been buried already.
“The attack has created serious humanitarian problems for government, we are talking of 5,000 residents of the village displaced, their houses were burnt by the attackers.
He said, although members of the communities alleged that the gunmen were their Berom neighbours, he explained that full investigation was necessary to ascertain the real culprits behind the dastardly act. “I’m not in the position to confirm that now,” he said..
The federal troops in charge of Plateau state known as Operation Safe Haven have described the attack as reprisal which was allegedly carried out by Berom, following an earlier attack on their (Berom) community.
Media officer of Operation Safe Haven, Captain Ikedichi Iweha said, “It’s true there was an attack on Kadunung village, houses were burnt, residents were displaced.”
He added that, “The troop got the information very late but we have taken over the general areas in search of the gunmen. But we can’t confirm whether the attackers are Berom or not because we are yet to arrest anyone. We will discover the real attackers after our investigations.”
Hon Bise however appealed to government agencies at federal and state levels to come to the aid of victims because of their large numbers as all the villagers have fled their homes.
“More than 5,000 may have been displaced, report reaching me from Bauchi is that 1000 displaced people are already taking refuge in parts of Bauchi state, the neighbouring villages are having more displaced people than they can cater for.
“The situation of the displaced persons is worse because the rainy season is at its peak. Most of the displaced persons are in open rain; that alone can increase the casualties if nothing is done fast. I appreciate the security agencies, they are all over the village as well as surrounding communities.”
However, leader of the Berom vigilante group in Barkin Ladi, Mr. Pam Bot, denied the allegation, saying the Berom can never attack their neighbours in this dastardly manner.
Mr Bot said, “This kind of attack is that of the Fulani militia, who are lurking around the boundary between Barkin Ladi and Mangu. I have received report that some of the gunmen who lost their lives in this particular attack is a confirmation that the attackers are Fulani, not Berom.
“The entire Berom community is in sympathy with families who lost their loved ones in the attack,” said Mr Bot.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Plateau North, Jonah Jang, has described Monday’s killing of 20 people in Fan Village of Barakin Ladi L.G.A of Plateau State by unidentified gunmen as ‘’yet another pointer to the fact that at the centre of these crises is a fundamental moral question that must be honestly addressed by all stakeholders if we must entrench lasting peace in that war-ravaged area of my constituency.’’
In a statement signed by Chris Gyang, his Media Aide, Senator Jang lamented that many years after these bloody conflicts between the Berom and Fulani began, not a single culprit has been publicly identified or prosecuted by the authorities concerned.
Governor Lalong in a statement signed by his Director of Press Affairs , Emmanuel Nanle and made available to newsmen yesterday stated that it is regrettable that as efforts are being made by government to see to the end of violent conflicts in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and parts of Jos South local government areas, the state is faced with yet another communal crisis.

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