• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Plateau:10 lives lost as herders strike Bokkos despite security presence- community leader

At least 10 people have been killed, houses destroyed in renewed violence in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, where clashes between herders and farming communities have erupted for years.

Barr. Farmasum Fuddang Chairman, Bokkos Cultural Development Council (BCDC) Vanguard who disclosed this in a statement made available to BusinessDay on Saturday in Jos said “Last night, April 12, our community in
Plateau state faced a horrific attack resulting in the senseless slaughter of at least ten of our members. Despite the presence of security forces, including the DSS, army, and Police, the perpetrators, identified as Fulani terrorists, were allowed to carry out their heinous acts with impunity”.

Fuddang asserted that “Under the cover of darkness, more than fifty armed terrorists descended upon the villages of Mandung-Mushu and Kopnanle all in Bokkos LGA targeting innocent, unarmed, and peaceful residents as they slept. The assailants set fire to homes and a place of worship, mercilessly gunning down fleeing civilians while nearby soldiers failed to intervene effectively”.

He said “the brazen attack, which predominantly targeted children, appears to be part of a calculated effort to instill fear and perpetrate further displacement within our communities. We condemn the act of terror, which we believe is aligned with a broader agenda to impose sharia law and seize control of our lands”; he asserted.

The Cultural leader explained that Just hours before the tragedy unfolded, BCDC Vanguard submitted a petition to the Department of State Services (DSS), challenging a leaked memo that falsely accused the people of planning violence against Fulani residents.

According to him, they unequivocally stated that the intelligence behind the memo was fabricated and defamatory.

He added that despite the efforts to rectify these falsehoods, the security apparatus failed to protect the community from the very threats highlighted.

“Just hours before this tragedy unfolded, BCDC Vanguard submitted a petition to the Department of State Services (DSS), challenging a leaked memo that falsely accused our people of planning violence against Fulani residents. We unequivocally stated that the intelligence behind the memo was fabricated and defamatory.

“Despite our efforts to rectify these falsehoods, the security apparatus failed to protect our community from the very threats we highlighted. We are appalled by the apparent prioritization of the lives of Fulani residents over our own and demand answers from the authorities.

“The timing of this attack, following closely on the heels of the DSS’s erroneous warning of an impending assault on Fulani communities, raises serious concerns about collusion or deliberate neglect. We refuse to accept such injustice and demand immediate transparency and accountability.

“This is more so that advance notices of attack in the area were published and circulated at least a week prior to the so-called DSS intelligence. The DSS ignored these warnings and instead chose to implicate the victims despite acknowledging in their memo that the Fulani were responsible for the six-day attack that claimed over 300 of our members last Christmas.

“We wish to put on record that the DSS alert is synonymous with the age-long strategy of the Fulani terrorists who often raise false alarms to intimidate residents and/or justify planned attacks. And unless the DSS clears its name on this, we reckon that it is complicit and compromised.

“Should the authorities fail to provide satisfactory explanations within the shortest possible time, we are prepared to pursue legal recourse. Enough is enough—we will not allow our people to be targeted and vilified while those responsible for our safety turn a blind eye”.

Security personnel are yet to comment on the death toll from the most recent attack on the Plateau.

At the time of filing this report, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Plateau State Command, Alfred Alabo, had not responded to the calls and text messages sent to him by our correspondent.

By Nathaniel Gbaoron