How bandits killed family of four, pastor, wife, others in Plateau

•Stakeholders preach peace, seek justice for victims

 

From Jude Dangwam, Jos

The months of May and June will always bring ugly memories to the Sule family of Tim Naanle in Bwai District of Mangu LGA following the killing of four members of the family, as well as Kimakpa village of Bassa Local Government Area of the state where five persons were murdered, including a pastor and his wife, by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in renewed attacks.

 

•Late Pastor Dauda Dalyop and his wife, Mrs. Chummy Dauda

 

The renewed trend of operation by the marauders after the return of some peace in the two councils has also claimed the life of 13-year-old Nanshak Cletus of Aloghom village of Mangu, who was macheted to death on May 28, 2024, in his village by some suspected Fulani militia while struggling at a tin mining site for survival.

This also followed the killing of a pastor of  Assemblies of God Church in Kimakpa village in Bassa LGA of Plateau State and his wife, as well as three others who paid with their lives.

 

Stakeholders at the News Central Television Town Hall Meeting for waring parties held at Crispan Hotel in Plateau State

Mr. Enoch Markus, a native of Mwagavul in Mangu, told Daily Sun that the attackers came heavily on the mining site in the early hours of Tuesday, around 7am, and killed the 13 year-old-boy in cold blood, as other people run for their lives from the marauders.

 

•CSOs marking the National Day of Mourning in Jos

“Nanshak Cletus of Aloghom was macheted to death on May 28 in Aloghom village by Fulani militia. He was struggling at the tin mining site as a means for survival but they came around 7am, attacked and killed the 13 year- old- boy,” he explained

National publicity secretary of Mwagavul Development Association, Mr. Lawrence Kyarshik, had earlier disclosed that suspected Fulani mercenaries have attacked Tim Naanle village in Bwai District of Mangu LGA, Plateau State on two occasion where four members of a family were killed.

 

“These are the names of those killed by the Fulani militias on the 21/5/2024 at exactly 8:42pm. Rinfwang Haruna (20) was killed by the Fulani militia. Also, on 22/5/2024 10:08pm Raymond Sule (father, 38), Victoria Sule (his aunt, 42), Disa Sule (Mother, 67) were killed,” he lamented.

The new trend is being accompanied with destruction of farmlands as maize at their tender stage were pulled out while planted potatoes were removed from the ground. Gardens with economic crops worth millions of naira at Tilengpaat village of Pushit District in Mangu local government area of the state were equally destroyed even when Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang reiterated that no one will stop the cultivation of farmlands across the troubled councils and the state by at large.

Daily Sun gathered that the sad development is coming after similar operations were carried out on farmlands at Vodni community in the same Pushit District of Mangu local government area of the state few days after a security meeting between the natives and Fulani at the instance of the council chairman for truce among the warring parties.

The National Youth President of Mwagavul Youth Movement Worldwide, Dawap Sunday Dankaka, has point accusing fingers at Fulani herders, alleging that destructive mercenaries often moved for about 15 to 16 kilometers to come and perpetrates the evil act on farmlands.

“Just to draw your attention to this again, a whole garden was destroyed by the Fulani in the early hours of Sunday 26/5/2024 before day break at Tilengpaat village of Pushit District, Mangu LGA Plateau State.

“I feel that arrest should be made and people be made to pay for their deeds. Please do something about this before it escalates,” he cried out

Kimakpa village in Kwall District of Bassa LGA of Plateau State also share in these renewed attacks that came in the midnight of June 2, 2024 when the evil men invaded the community, leaving behind five residents dead at Ari Songo (Songo’s House) Kimakpa Kwall District of the council.

The National Publicity Secretary of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Sam Jugo, in a statement, noted that criminal elements came in their numbers with heavy weapons and killed “Pastor Dauda Dalyop (63) of Assemblies of God Church Kwall, his wife, Mrs Chummy Dauda (57) as well as Mr. Chwe Ajuhs (26), Mr. Joshua Kusa (45) and Mrs Rikwe Doro (43).

Two persons were reported to been severely injured and were undergoing treatment. He further disclosed that troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH ) were instantly mobilized to avert further genocide, adding that there is an uneasy calm in Kwall district of the state as locals have been tasked to be vigilant.

“This sad incident came just two days after some disgruntled elements ambushed some Rigwe youths on motorcycle while returning from Gero mining site and killed instantly Mr Irmiya Musa Timbi and severely injured one other person,”  said Jugo.

He called on local community members to upscale their vigilance, by avoiding night movements to distant destinations and suppress the urge for reprisal or taking the law in their hands and give the security agencies the benefit of the doubt.

According to the publicity secretary, “In as much as we are quite saddened by this condemnable incident, we cannot afford to aggravate the situation by seeking self help at this time. We call on the security agencies to do the needful by fishing out the culprits so that the affected will see justice being served as that is the only way to restore the confidence of our people.”

The Coalition of Ethics Youth Nationalities in Plateau State has described the ongoing trend as not far from economic control of resources following the pattern of operations the attackers have been using over the years. The marauders, over the years, strike on innocent communities and immediately move in to occupied such communities rich with mineral resources.

The President of the Ethics Youth Nationalities in Plateau State, Mr Paul Dekete, shared the collective experience of the communities from 2017 to 2023 which are concept of land grabbing and annexation of various villages after displacing the natives by the attackers.

“From our collective community experiences, we strongly believe there is a curious connection between the areas where our people have suffered the worse forms of displacement and denial of access to the rich natural and mineral endowment of such locations.

“It’s common knowledge that hamlets and villages in Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Mangu and Riyom local government areas are richly endowed with resources such as favourable weather conditions, natural tourist sites, fertile soils, water bodies, cassaterite, columbite and so many other minerals.

“It is instructive, therefore, to judiciously note the rapidly changing economic and occupational demographics in the occupied territories,” he lamented.

The suspected Fulani herder are said to have in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA currently taken over the economic activities of the area, having largely displaced native farmers from their ancestral areas. As the exploitation and domination of the people is evidenced at local produce markets and transport businesses in and around the said District.

“It’s quite provoking to imagine that foundation of churches that were destroyed by these terrorist elements have overnight been reconstructed as mosques to the utter disregard of the fundamental rights of the displaced people. A case in point is the Rankum (Mahanga) in Jol, Ranchos and Kak in Sopp, all in Riyom local government area.

“For the avoidance of doubt, over 151 hamlets and villages are either totally annexed or effectively being occupied by the Fulani militants, bandits or terrorists in the aforementioned local government of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Mangu and Riyom. A worrisome dimension is that this vicious trend is still ongoing, and is assuming greater intensity and sophistry as was witnessed during the Christmas-Eve massacre that claimed over 257 human lives and millions of Naira worth of properties,” he lamented

The youths body reiterated that it is their firm belief that the victims of the massacres deserved to get back their lands from the forceful occupiers. The urged government at all levels to do the needful beyond journalistic condemnation of such onslaughts, killings, displacements and land grabbing.

Meanwhile, a coalition of civil societies across Nigeria in commemoration of the 2024 National Day of Mourning again called on President Bola Tinubu to fulfill his constitutional duty of ensuring the security and well-being of  Nigerians, account for the missing and the dead and ensure justice for the victims of various atrocities across the country.

The coordinator of the National Day of Mourning (NDOM) and Team Lead, Srarina Initiative for Peace Justice and Development (SIPJAD), Redzie D. Jugo, lamented that the intractable insecurity in Nigeria has earned it a place as one of the most insecure countries in the world.

Jugo stated: “Nigeria ranked 144th out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index in 2024, sandwiched between countries in active warfare and 5th on the Global Conflict Index, ranking as extremely vulnerable to conflict.

“Since the commemoration of the last National Day of Mourning #NDOM2023 on May 28, 2023, and President Tinubu’s first year in office, our records show that at least 4416 people were killed and at least 4334 were abducted in incidents of mass atrocities across the country, aside the regular crimes of armed robbery and other forms of criminality.”

They expressed concern that the incidents of violence have reduced the citizens’ right to life and dignity guaranteed under Sections 33 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) to a mere inscription.

The frequency of the atrocities is said to have kept Nigerians in a state of perpetual fear, uncertainty and is impacting negatively on social cohesion, economy and education across the country.

They disclosed that the central part of Nigeria account for the highest number of fatalities even though no region of the country has been spared in the last one year under Tinubu’s watch.

“The North Central region has accounted for the highest number of fatalities from mass atrocities, with at least 1,600 lives claimed in terror pillages, communal clashes, and herdsmen attacks,” he said.

The North Central was closely followed by the North West, with at least “1,136 killed mainly in terror pillages.” Particularly hard-hit were communities like Maradun local government in Zamfara State, which has endured at least five separate incidents of terror pillages in 2023, a series of attacks that claimed the lives of at least 118 people. 

“At least 904 people were killed in the North East in the past year. Boko Haram/ISWAP activities still account for the highest number of atrocious killings in the Northeast, particularly in Borno State, with pockets of incidents in Yobe and Adamawa states. We also noted an upsurge in insurgent group clashes. For example, at least 82 Boko Haram insurgents were killed in an inter-insurgent group clash in the Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.

“The South-East recorded the highest number of killings in the southern part of the country, with at least 344 people killed, and most of these killings occurred in  Imo and Anambra states. As reported in previous years, most of the killings were due to secessionist activities in the region. Cult gangs, communal clashes and pockets of banditry attacks continued to cost lives in the South-South region, where at least 272 people were killed. In the Southwest, at least 160 people were killed due to cult clashes, herdsmen militia and other isolated attacks,” Jugo explained.

They reiterated that the sustained trend of brazen killings, abductions and pillages across the country reflects the impunitious confidence of armed groups whose acts of violence are rewarded with ransom payments, control over pillaged communities and taxes extorted from communities in exchange for peace.

“We are perplexed that while the government was able to track and to freeze the bank accounts of protesters during the #EndSARS protests, but four years on, it is not able to trace and quash kidnapping and ransom rings across the country using the same technology. In addition to attacks from armed groups, extrajudicial killings by state security actors have also continued, with at least 274 people extrajudicially killed.”

They called for an independent investigation and those personnel found guilty should be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for Victims of Mass Atrocities and Violent Killings is an annual citizen-led initiative that recognizes that victims are more than just numbers; they are humans, citizens whose identities must not be forgotten, whose stories must be told, and for whom justice must prevail.

However, some Fulani stakeholders during a town hall meeting put together by the News Central Television in Jos as part of its contribution in bringing the warring parties to a dialogue towards sustainable peaceful and mutual coexistence in the state has given some reasons for the years of unrest in the state such as their inability to obtain indigene certificates in Plateau State and denial of having a councilor in the state despite their population across the troubled communities in the frontline LGAs.

Sale Yusuf Adamu, the chairman of Gan Allah and Central Zone of Plateau State, said: “I have listened to other contributions saying what is happening on the Plateau is not ethnic something like that, it is terrorism or something like that. We will not agree, even the security agencies will bear me witness on what is happening on the Plateau from 2001 up to now.

“I will challenge those saying that because we Fulanis in Plateau State we have not been giving indigenes form, why? And we need this! We Fulanis in Plateau State we have not even one councilor. We do not have a ward chairman. We do not have any political position in Plateau State.”

However, the Commissioner for Information and Communication in Plateau State, Hon. Musa Ashoms, who represented Governor Mutfwang at the event, swiftly countered the narrative by Adamu.

He said: “I want to appeal to the principal actors, let’s live and allow others live too. If everybody is claiming to be an indigene of Plateau State, then why kill fellow indigenes? If you’re indigenous to Plateau, shouldn’t you work hard to protect our brothers and our sisters?

“There is a wrong narrative being peddled here that Fulanis don’t get appointed in Plateau State, that is a lie from the pit of hell. In Jos East local government area where I come from, out of the five-man Transition Implementation Committee, the counselor representing Fursunk is a Fulani.

“Somebody said natives and locals, these words are not in the dictionary for nothing. When you say natives and locals, they’re not words calved by Oyinbo (white man) for words sake but they have definition with deep meaning to them. Myself for example, I was given birth in Funtuwa Katsina State but I’m from Zendi in Jos East local government of Plateau State. The governor was given birth in Wusasa Zaria in Kaduna State but he is from Mangu. You can live elsewhere and enjoy the bounties of the land

“Somebody said Fulani are not part of the resentment committee. It’s also a lie, there is a Fulani man who is a lawyer by profession on the team.

“Let’s not get to a point where some people will be seen in motor parks and everybody would not be allowed to enter the same car with them. Let’s not get to the point that an innocent person will be walking on the street and people will lynch him because they’re angry.”

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