THE killings in Barakin-Ladi and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State took a frightening dimension on Saturday following gruesome killings of over one hundred people by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
TribuneOnline learnt that the unfortunate incident occurred at about 11:00 pm on Saturday to the early hour of Sunday when gunmen in their large numbers invaded villages in Barakin Ladi local government area.
A member of the Plateau State House of Assembly Hon. Gyendeng representing the troubled constituency who spoke with the TribuneOnline said the gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen invaded the local government with a sophisticated weapon including submachine guns and spread themselves across 10 villages.
Hon. Gyendenk said the attack which was carried out simultaneously in all the villages lasted throughout the night adding that in the affected villages, 170 people were killed while several others sustained injuries.
“My constituency throughout the night was under heavy bombardment by the herdsmen. Over 170 people were killed in the midnight raid in the following villages, Yelwa Hindi, Hana Top, Gindin Apati, Ruku, Shonon, Rasp, Heipang, Kakuruk, Kisan and others”
The State lawmaker said all attempts to penetrate the affected villages to bring out the survivors and the remaining dead bodies were resisted by men of Operation Safe Haven attached to Sector 7 on the ground that such step might escalate the killings.
“We have lost confidence in the security agents. In the past three weeks, there was no day without killing in this local government and the security personnel attached to this area have refused to take necessary action. Presently, there are more than Seventy dead bodies at the mortuary of the hospital in Barakin-Ladi local government”
The apex body of all Berom associations, the Berom Educational and Cultural Organization, BECO through its Public Relation Officer, Mr Sam Gordons said no fewer than 150 persons were killed in the attacked carried out by herdsmen adding that the attack was launched on the villages without any reason.
Said he: “It was a pathetic incident, now there is tension everywhere. The way and manner they executed the attack in these villages depicted that there was an agenda supported by official quarters. It is not only Berom that is under attack in Plateau State, other places such as Miango, Bassa, Bokkos and Mangu are facing similar attack”
When contacted, the Media and Information Officer of Operation Safe Haven, Major Adam Umar declared thus: “We are at the scene of the incident, as soon as we finished, I will get back to you for actual figure of casualties”. But did not call as at the time of filing this report.
The State Police Public Relation Officer, ASP Terna Tyopev said the command can only confirm 11 casualties for now.
Meanwhile, Plateau State Government has imposed curfew in Barakin-Ladi, Riyom and Jos South local government areas of the state to avert a breakdown of law and order.
According to a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Rufus Bature, the movement was restricted from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am except those in essential duties.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has cut short his participation at the ongoing All Progressives Congress National Convention in Abuja.
According to a statement signed by the State Commissioner of Information, Yakubu Dati, this is to enable him personally take charge of the security situation in the state, particularly some communities in Barakin Ladi Local Government Area.
The Governor who directed the Security chiefs to checkmate the assailants had earlier condemned the attack and commensurate with the victims.
Gov Simon Lalong appeals for calm as government fashions out a lasting solution to the present challenge.
As a result of the killings, there was a palpable tension in Jos South and Jos North local government areas of the state as worshipers and others hurriedly went home and stay indoors for fear of the incident spreading to the state capital.