At least no fewer than 21 persons are dead in a fresh attack in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau in a midnight attack on a village in the early hours of yesterday.
A source who spoke to LEADERSHIP FRIDAY in Jos on phone said the gunmen, believed to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked Kukek community in Bakin Kogi Foron District of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
According to our source, the gunmen razed the home of a man identified as Tsok Gwom between 1am and 2am last night, killing nine members of his family. The gunmen were said to have rustled some cattle from villagers.
The source further said that among the victims were Mr. Gwom, three women, and five children. One of the women was identified as Mr. Gwom's wife.
LEADERSHIP FRIDAY investigation further revealed that residents of the community were woken up by the gunfire and alerted the vigilante members of the community who launched a reprisal attack on the gunmen and killed 12 of them.
A resident of the community, who did not want his name mentioned for security reasons, said many of the vigilante members also sustained various degrees of injuries.
When contacted, the Interim Administrator of Barkin Ladi LGA, Hon. Habila Dung, confirmed the incident but said he was yet to get details. Also, the state police public relations officer, DSP Felicia Anselm, confirmed the incident but said she was not aware of the number of persons killed.
However, the Plateau State government has reacted to the killings, saying only 14 people were killed in the attack.
Speaking through the Commissioner of information and communication, Pastor Yiljap Abraham, the state government said it was not another round of crisis, but a criminal attempt by some misguided elements to rustle cattle in the area. He pointed out that the villagers showed very strong resistance by killing 10 of the cattle rustlers while four villagers were killed by the night marauders.
Yiljap appealed to the people of the area to report any suspicious movements to the law enforcement agencies for prompt action.