Plateau Attacks: 327 killed, 14,968 Displaced in Irigwe land

About 66 attacks on 50 villages were launched against communities in Irigwe, Bassa LGA of Plateau State, by suspected Fulani herdsmen, between September 2017 and July 2019.

This is according to a report by a Rural Youth Integral Support Initiative, titled: Impact Assessment of Fulani Herdsmen Attacks on Irigwe chiefdom between September 2017 and July 2019

The report also revealed that a total of 327 persons were killed leaving behind 186 widows and 744 orphans.

According to the report, out of the 14,968 displaced persons, children were mostly affected, with 9,729 displaced, while 2,994 women and 2,245 men were affected.

The report further stated that 4,397 residential rooms were looted and burnt, while several hectares of farmlands were destroyed.

 

It stated: “2,662 farmlands were destroyed. This may account for only half of the total number of actual farms destroyed as many people did not report”.

Based on the report, farms with about four types of crops which were nearly harvested were mostly destroyed at night in the remote villages away from the towns of Jebbu-Miango, Miango, Kwall and Jos suburb.

As a result, four communities in the chiefdom have had to bear the humanitarian burden.

“A total of 18 communities of Irigwe people representing 36% of the 50 communities attacked have been displaced and are taking refuge in the four refuge communities and towns”, the report says.

Meanwhile, the attacks on villages and communities have abated but are being replaced by new tactics employed by the insurgents.

According to President, Irigwe Youth Movement (IYM), Chinge Dodo, “there is a modus operandi of our attackers. From August 2019, we noticed a change in tactics, the way our people are being ambushed, we have pockets of killings. Our people are being waylaid and killed.

Dodo revealed that of recent, four persons were attacked in that manner and that only one survived and is receiving treatment in the hospital.

Presently, the issue of secret killings along remote villages and roads are a daily occurrence.

According to Dodo, Irigwe land, in Bassa LGA has two districts, Kwall and the old missionary town of Miango.

Both towns share borders with Kaduna State and communities in both States share a common market overtime.

However, due to incessant attacks across the two States and communities, the roads have become a no-go-area thereby affecting trade relations and economic activities.

Cultural and social ties have also been affected because there are intermarriages between neighbouring tribes.

The two districts of Miango and Kwall are famous for the celebration of the New Year Festival on January 1st. This time around, it was not celebrated due to security concerns.

Dodo said the festival was suspended due to fears of insecurity and as a mark of honour to the innocent blood that had been shed during the past year.

He therefore advised members of the communities to desist from travelling from one village to the other in order not to be caught unawares.

He added that vigilantes were around to protect villages, but urged the villagers to rise up and defend themselves and also report suspicious movement promptly.

On the humanitarian situation, Dodo appealed to government to find a solution to the crisis through adequate resettlement programme and that due to the limited number of security personnel, communities should be mobilized to defend themselves through incentives to vigilante groups.

The security authorities were contacted for a confirmation of the situation in the crisis area and what they are doing to bring normalcy.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the State, DSP Matthias Terna Tyopev, confirmed the situation, but regretted that the unfavourable terrain is affecting their operations.

Tyopev however said patrol has been intensified in those flashpoints and that the police were working with “neighborhood watch” to ensure security for communities affected.

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