Plateau Bloodbath: I ran into the bush but my relatives were not lucky, they were killed- survivor — Nigerian Pilot News
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Plateau Bloodbath: I ran into the bush but my relatives were not lucky, they were killed- survivor

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The recent bloodbath on the Plateau has elicited and alarming outcry, following the magnitude of souls that were killed, thus returning the state hitherto thought to be embracing peace to its old days of pogrom, writes correspondent Golok Nanmwa, who also captured two survivors accounts in this piece.

Plateau was thrown into mourning last weekend as over a hundred persons were killed in some communities in Barkin Ladi local government area of the state after unknown gunmen stormed the communities and started shooting sporadically.

National Publicity Secretary of Berom Youths Moulders, Jatau Davou, who spoke to the Nigerian Pilot Weekend, said over hundred persons was killed in the attack.

He said that “over 100 corpses have already been recovered .In Shonum, 33 corpses were recovered after gunmen invaded the community and started shooting sporadically while another 31 from neighboring villages of Ex Land, while 34 corpses were recovered Garnarok village and 8 other corpses from another village”.

Other villages attacked by the herdsmen according to Davou, include, Xland, Gindin Akwati all in Barkin Ladi Local Government.
Narrating his ordeal, Bot Gyang a native, said “we were about to go to bed at about 11pm when we started hearing sound of gunshots, I had to run into the bush but my relatives were not lucky as they were all killed ,he said .

Also Thomas Bulle, who gave an eye witness account, said, he escaped death by the whiskers as the gunmen stormed his village, Ex land, in the early hours of the morning and started shooting sporadically. ‘My friends were killed by the gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
But Police Public Relations officer of the state Police Command, Asp Tyopev Terna, said only 86 persons were killed.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Jos, reads: “that Sequel to the attack in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA on 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 for on the spot assessment. The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations had also the DPO of Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38.

After a careful search of the villages attacked in the District the following were discovered ;Eighty six (86) persons all together were killed ,Six people injured, Fifty (50) house burnt, Fifteen (15) motorcycles burnt down and Two (2) motor vehicles burnt down.
According to him, “The team also carried out a detailed deployment and corpses were released to the families for burial”

Expectedly, Plateau Governor Simon Lalong, cut short his participation at the All Progressives Congress National Convention in Abuja, to enable him personally take charge of the security situation in the state, particularly in some of the affected communities in Barakin Ladi local Government Area.

The Governor, who directed the Security chiefs to checkmate the assailants, had earlier condemned the attack and commiserated with the victims. He appealed for calm as he noted that government will fashion out a lasting solution to the present challenge.

Meanwhile the state government in a statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati and made available to newsmen in Jos, states that: “Government is deeply pained that despite concerted efforts which had led to the restoration of relative peace across the state, some unpatriotic elements are bent on disrupting the gains so far made.”

“Government condemns these attacks and has mobilised the full compliments of security forces who are restoring normalcy in the affected areas and the environs.”

“Furthermore, government holds every single live as sacred hence, has mobilized medical and relief agencies to ameliorate the suffering of those in distress.

As a government we are committed to ensuring a safe and secured environment that will guarantee peaceful coexistence among the various groups in the state as we remain resolute to the well being of our people.

We however appeal to citizens not to take laws into their hands and cooperate with security agencies to prevent further break down of law and order as they track perpetrators of the evil act.

Citizens are particularly, advised to use the “Early warning system” mechanism recently launched by Operation Rainbow
A dusk till dawn curfew was also imposed in Barkin ladi ,Riyom and Jos south local government .

However reacting to the killings, Rev Dr Soja Bewarang ,state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Plateau state, noted that the continued genocide going on in Gashish District, Razat, Ruku Nyarr, Gana-Ropp, Shalong, Gwararza etc in Barkin Ladi Local Government and other communities in Riyom and Bokkos are very disheartening to say the least.

According to him, the killings were becoming no longer herders and farmers again but a deliberate attempt to conquer and occupy the land of the people’s ancestral heritage.

He said “CAN note with great pains the dastardly attacks ongoing in many other local government areas in the State by the herdsmen militias, while also condemning the level of continuous genocide of Plateau people. Barkin Ladi is under siege with more than 200 innocent precious human lives killed and countless driven out in the rains and left without shelter.

“CAN condemn these unholy acts of systematic genocide and sees it as a deliberate attempt to destroy the cultural heritage of Plateau people in particular the most affected areas. CAN calls on the Government to use its might to bring these killings to a stop.
However angered over the killings Plateau state government has vowed to ensure that the perpetrators of the killings of the state are arrested and brought to book.

In a state wide broadcast to the people, the governor, said, ” Government is conscious of its responsibilities of protection of lives and properties of its citizenry an d we have always strived to meet that expectation ,you will recall that I took an oath to protect and secure the lives and properties of our citizens as governor of Plateau state ,for this reason ,my administration has placed a high premium on peace ,security and good governance ,being the first item on our five pillar policy thrusts

“Regardless of the threats we face today ,we remain resolute in our commitment to arrest the vicious circle of violence and lay the foundation for sustainable peace ,following this renewed episode of violence after about three years of some stability in terms of peace and security we are yet again faced with a risk of a relapse ,we shall not allow our ourselves to be dragged into our gory past .

Accordingly, the government has taken decisive steps to reinforce security, particularly in communities prone to attacks, and in the same vein is working to tackle the underlying causes of conflict.

“I urge all and sundry to exercise restraint, observe the curfew currently in Place, while traditional rulers ,religious leaders ,elders political leaders ,community leaders and their subjects remain vigilant and cooperate with security operatives that are monitoring the situations and helping to keep the peace” .
The governor also warned of any deliberate attempt to politicize the crisis and giving it religious coloration.

According to him, fake news, deliberate distortions and misinformation will be the order of the day, and government through the appropriate security agencies will not hesitate to deal decisively with any trouble maker or peace spoiler that is determined to test the resolve of government, he said, adding that “I sympathize with our people over our loss and I conclude that We can only triumph over these challenges when we remain united as a people”.

Meanwhile the families of the victims have claimed nonetheless that over 200 of their own have been massacred, contrary to 86 posted by the police. Is it that over 114 are missing or buried in mass graves without public knowledge, as the people say enough is enough and FG must bring the perpetrators to book.

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