7 January 2014

Nigerian Military Confirms Six Killed, Five Injured in Riyom, Plateau Attack

Six people were killed in an attack on a community in Bachit, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, the spokesperson of the Special Task Force, STF, Salisu Mustapha, has said.

Mr. Mustapha, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, confirmed the incident and said five others were injured and have been taken to hospital for medical attention. He added that no arrest has been made but more security operatives were deployed to the troubled area.

"Our commander, Maj. Gen. David Ennetie was there personally and also visited victims alongside the interim administrator of Riyom. We are on the trail of the suspects," he said.

The spokesperson said the attack started at about 9:00 p.m. on Monday night, while a survivor, who along with others, is on admittance at the Vom Christian Hospital in the area, said it continued until about 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday when they were able to escape.

A preceding attack

Prior to the late night attack in Bachit, armed men had earlier on Monday attacked Shonong, also in Riyom Local Government, with residents saying about a dozen people were killed.

Residents of the area said the attackers were suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that over 40 houses were burnt, while many domestic animals belonging to the villagers were either killed or taken away by the attackers.

According to a survivor, the attackers stormed Shonong community, consisting of four different villages, at about 7 a.m. on Monday, shooting sporadically. He claimed that about 30 people were killed in the attack.

Another survivor, Shom Toma, who sustained gunshot injuries and is receiving medical attention at the Vom Christian Hospital, said the attackers stormed the village in their hundreds, when most of the villagers had gone to the farms, and killed mostly children, women and the aged.

He said he was moulding building blocks around his house when the killings commenced.

Another survivor said about 30 dead bodies have been discovered and a search was on for the injured that escaped into the surrounding bushes. He said many people were missing, among them, children.

Inept security operatives

Shonong is not new to recent violence. The acting village head of Attarkar and that of Shonong village were killed two days before Christmas and were buried 48 hours before Monday's mass killings.

A Plateau State House of Assembly member representing Riyom constituency, Daniel Dem, while reacting to Monday's incident, questioned the lack of action by STF in the area.

"If the military are there in the village and the attack took place at about 8 a.m. and lasted till afternoon, then the military have so many questions to answer," he said.

Mr. Dem visited the victims at Vom Christian Hospital were about 20 survivors were receiving medical attention.

The JTF spokesperson, however, said he had no details of the Shonong attack but that adequate officers had now been posted to all the communities in Riyom.

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