No fewer than 120 persons were weekend killed in several villages in Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State in fresh attacks by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, while over 200 others sustained gunshot injuries.
However, Commander of the Special Military Task Force, Major General Anthony Atolagbe, last night confirmed that 56 persons were killed. Major-General Atolagbe, who spoke from the bush where he was directing operations to apprehend the perpetrators, also said three of the killers had been arrested, adding that they confessed to participating in the killing.
A house burnt at Gashish, one of the villages attacked. Photos by Marie-Therese Nanlong.
“The suspected killers have been giving useful information about others involved in the killings and their hideouts. We are going all out for them.
Also, troops have been deployed to ensure normalcy is restored,” he said. This came as 13 persons also lost their lives in an inter-communal conflict between two communities in Cross River and Ebonyi states.
The scale of destruction in Plateau, which also led to burning of houses, compelled the state government to declare a dawn-to-dusk curfew in the affected local government areas to stave off further killings.
But Plateau State Police Command said at press time last night it had counted 86 bodies, asserting that it could not ascertain the actual number of casualties since some families took away bodies of their loved ones without notification.
Vanguard gathered that heavily armed gunmen invaded the affected villages, including Exland, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk, all in Gashish district as well as Rakok, Kok and Razat villages in Ropp district of the local government area, shooting sporadically, killing people, injuring others and setting structures ablaze.
The latest attacks sparked off protests by the youths who barricaded roads along Mangu Halle in Mangu Local Government Area, protesting incessant killings in the area.