In Plateau State, Nigeria, there is palpable anger following an attack on Tuesday by suspected militia herders that resulted in the deaths of numerous people. The National President of the Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA), Joseph Gwankat, revealed that 85 individuals were killed when gunmen invaded several communities in Mangu local government area. Solomon Bulus, a member of the House of Representatives from Mangu/Bokkos federal constituency, raised an alarm stating that over 100 people were killed in his constituency, with a majority of the victims being women and children.
Gwankat provided details of the killings during Governor Simon Lalong’s visit to Mangu local government area, where heads of security agencies accompanied him on a fact-finding mission. He reported that 50 victims had been given a mass burial, while another 35 bodies were recovered and buried separately in the evening. The recovery of more bodies was still ongoing. Gwankat mentioned that over 17 villages in Bwai, Panyam, and Mangu were attacked simultaneously by bandits who killed innocent people and burned their houses. He appealed to both the state and federal government to urgently deploy adequate security personnel to the affected communities to protect them from further attacks.
Local authorities, including the Chairman of Mangu local government area, Minister Daput, the district heads of Pushit and Mangu, and the Miskhaham Mwaghavul, all decried the coordinated attacks on peaceful communities, describing them as ethnic cleansing. They called for the deployment of more security personnel, as the current presence was insufficient and overwhelmed. The Miskhaham Mwaghavul urged the military to utilize intelligence gathering to identify the perpetrators and their origins, emphasizing that the entire Mwaghavul land is under siege. The government officials called on all levels of government to fulfill their primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens.
Governor Simon Lalong, represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, assured the people that the state government would do everything possible to protect the lives of citizens. He expressed sympathy for the victims and emphasized that the government would assist them through the state and national emergency management agencies. He also urged the youth not to take the law into their own hands and promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Solomon Bulus, in his statement, lamented the frequent killings in his constituency, where over 200 people had been killed in the last four months prior to the latest attack. He criticized the government for not being able to stop the killings despite its efforts, calling on the president to condemn the attacks and take immediate action to protect lives and property. Bulus urged the president to order security agencies to intervene immediately and called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other organizations to provide relief materials for the survivors.
The attack and subsequent mass burial have sparked outrage and raised concerns about the security situation in Plateau State. Efforts are being made to address the crisis, but the calls for swift action and increased security presence continue.