Jos / Abakaliki – Twenty-six persons were killed, several injured and many houses razed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in a Monday night attack on Dundu village of Irigwe Chiefdom in Kwal District of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, according to residents.
However, the police said only 25 persons were killed while the army puts the figure at 21.
Sources said some of the injured are currently receiving treatment at Enos Hospital, Miango village in Bassa Local Government Area.
The battle ground communities are in the same council – Bassa LGA – where the 3rd Armored Division of the Nigerian Army is headquartered.
The Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in the state, ASP Terna Tyopev, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Jos on Tuesday.
Tyopev said that two persons were also severely injured in the fracas.
He said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Adie Undie, had directed the officer in charge of operations to mobilise to the scene of the crime.
“Twenty-five persons were on Monday night killed in an attack in Dundu community of Bassa Local Government Area.
“Two persons were severely injured and many houses burnt to ashes.
“As such, the Commissioner of Police has directed the DCP Taiwo Jebiyisu, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Department of Operations, to visit the scene for an on-the-spot assessment.
“Armed policemen have also been deployed to the area to contain any further break down of law and order,” he said.
The attack came at the time the Irigwe community was preparing to bury four of its members killed by gunmen few days ago.
The Special Task Force (STF) code named ‘Operation Safe Haven’ in its response on the attack told newsmen in Jos that the terrain made it difficult for it to respond promptly when it got distress call from some villagers.
Major Umar Adams, Spokesman for the military task force in charge of internal peace operation in Jos, said the assailants came through the rocks between Southern Kaduna and Bassa to carry out the attack.
Explaining further, the STF spokesman said troops have taken over the affected community and some of the injured have been taken to St. Williams Catholic Hospital, Kwal in Bassa LGA for treatment.
A youth leader, Lawrence Timothy, said they counted 25 corpses and more were still being recovered from the bush as at the time of going to press.
“The Fulani herdsmen stormed the village about 7p.m when people were preparing for dinner. Everybody was taken unawares. They came killing more than 25 persons while several others were injured and houses burnt with foodstuff”, he said.
Meanwhile, aggrieved residents on Tuesday took to the streets of Jos protesting the killings in Bassa council.
The protesters, who wore black, were spotted at Jos Specialist Hospital where they came to take the corpses of their relatives that were killed last week for mass burial in Bassa Local Government Council of the state.
The renewed attack in Plateau villages is coming at a time when the Operation Safe Haven has held series of stakeholders’ meeting between herdsmen and farmers to restore peace among them.
Herders, Farmers’ Conflicts May Throw Nigeria Into Chaos – Umahi
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and the National Chairman of Myetti Allah, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, warned on Monday that unless rampaging herdsmen were checked their incessant conflicts with farmers could throw Nigeria into chaos.
They spoke at the Government House, Abakaliki, during an enlarged security meeting over the recent herdsmen-villagers’ clash in Enyanwu Igwe, Igbeagu Community of Izzi Local Government Area, which left four persons dead with two others in critical conditions.
Addressing the gathering, Umahi described the killings in Enyanwu Igwe village as unprovoked and ordered herdsmen around the area to leave the place until he calmed the embittered villagers down to avoid reprisal attacks.
The governor said: “It is unprovoked killings, life is so sacred. You can’t kill people as if they are fowls.
“Izzi people are warriors; I physically held them not to go for retaliation.
“The herdsmen there in Izzi have to leave the place for now until I calm everybody down.
“The way we are going, it can provoke national war and it will not help anybody.
“If there is reprisal attack, I will hold all the leaders squarely responsible, I will charge all of you for any reprisal attack.
“The life of every Ebonyian is very dear to me. God forbid, I can’t withstand where 76 people were killed like in Benue, I can’t withstand it.
“Some people may be fighting to die but we fight to live, let’s use wisdom to handle the matter.
“This is a national problem; we don’t want our people to be continually killed.
“We must use wisdom to handle this problem. It is very easy to say I want all the herdsmen to leave Ebonyi but there are lots of implications.”
He expressed regrets that agreement reached between the state and herdsmen in the area for peaceful co-existence was not adhered to.
“We banned under-aged herders; we banned night grazing in the state.
“We have no grazing routes in Ebonyi, which means that nobody has the right to carry cattle by route to Ebonyi State, and we agreed on that.
“We also agreed with the herdsmen that the first offender must be prosecuted.
“We also said that no farmer should go to the farm with a gun and no herdsmen should rear cattle with a gun or machete, it is the stick.
“We must abide by these rules,” he added.
While addressing Umahi, the National Chairman of Myetti Allah, Bello Bodejo, aligned himself with the governor concerning the dangers of continued hostility between herders and farmers.
He said the state had been very accommodating to the herdsmen, and warned that the hospitality should not be abused.
“Ebonyi State is very peaceful and it is accommodating to our members.
“It has been so accommodating to our members even more than some Northern states of the federation, and we condemn these killings in this state.”
“There are minors and migrants who are causing these lots of problems. There are also criminals moving as cattle herders who are causing this havoc.
“The state chairmen of Myetti Allah in the South-East and South-South are all here, and we are not happy with what happened; we condemn these killings in totality.
“Nigeria is confronted with so many security challenges and one of them is the unfortunate farmer/herder conflict.
“If this conflict is not resolved, it has the potential of throwing this country into unnecessary chaos,” Bello Bodejo said.
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