9 November 2012

Nigeria: Village Head, Wife Killed in Night Attack in Plateau

It was yet another gory tale from Plateau State, a state that has been wracked by violence over the years owing to the protracted internecine clashes.

Reports of attacks on villages and killing of people have become a standard fare in the state. Hundreds of people have been sent to their graves in such bizarre circumstances. It is a state where piles of bodies in various grotesque forms have become a common sight to the residents.

Plateau State has become one of the states in Nigeria where death is cheap and government seems to have been at its wits' end on how to handle the ethno-religious tensions that are fuelling the orgy of killings on the plateau.

In one of such attacks in July, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gyang Dantong, and a member of the state House of Assembly representing Barkin Ladi Constituency, Hon. Gyang Fulani, were among scores of mourners killed in Matse village, Riyom Local Government Area by suspected Fulani gunmen.

The two lawmakers were reportedly killed when the gunmen invaded the village as they were attending a mass burial for 63 victims killed earlier in an attack in Karkuruk, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.

Another lawmaker, Hon. Simon Davou Mwadkwon, a member of the House of Representatives representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency and Chairman of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Mr. Emmanuel Lomang, narrowly escaped death.

The attack on the lawmakers and others during the funeral saw the unconfirmed death toll rise from the attack and the reprisals to 104.

The state government, shocked by the killings, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on four local government areas in the state, in an act that has become a ritual response to the outbreak of violence in the state.

Another 50 more bodies, linked to the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), were reportedly discovered in the house of a pastor in Matse.

The bodies were suspected to be those who ran for safety to the pastor's house as they were being pursued by the suspected Fulani attackers. But Fulani community leaders denied that their people had done anything wrong.

In the latest attack on Wednesday night, the agents of death were again on the prowl as they sneaked up on Kachin village in Kura district of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

The village head, Chief Thomas Gyang, his wife, Rebecca, and a woman living with them were killed in their home by unknown gunmen. But their seven-month-old baby was spared by the assailants.

Confirming the attack yesterday, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Emmanuel Abuh, said: "The incident occurred yesterday (Wednesday) evening at about 8:30 pm, when unknown gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked Kachin village killing the chief of the village and his wife."

Abuh, however, said riot policemen attached to the Special Task Force (STF) deployed in the area were able to kill two of the attackers.

The police spokesman said the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Diipo Ayeni, had since deployed more riot policemen and plain-clothes detectives in the area to repel possible attacks, adding that the bodies of those that died have been deposited at the Nigerian Air Force Hospital Mortuary, Jos.

Also confirming the incident, the spokesman of the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said the two assailants were gunned down after an exchange of gunfire with the security men, adding that no arrest has been made. He said three people were killed by the gunmen.

As usual, nobody knew why the village was attacked, although it was believed that the attack was part of the feud between the Hausa/Fulani and indigenous people of the state.

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