From Gyang Bere, Jos
There was widespread sorrow and anguish across many communities in Miango Local Government Area of Plateau State last week as herdsmen again went on rampage and unleashed terror upon them.
At the end, seven people were killed, two of whom aged, while several innocent residents were admitted in hospitals for gunshot wounds. Not done, the invaders razed more than 200 houses along the line.
A 67-year-old woman, Mary Martha, who lost her husband during the attack, was simply inconsolable.No word was consoling enough to lift her spirit. Red-eyed and hoarse, she grieved and wailed to no end.
Apart from her bereavement, Mary also lost all her crops, which were growing on several hectares of farmland that was destroyed, which made her case pathetic. To worsen her tragedy, she was left without a roof over her head, as the invaders burnt down everything she had once treasured.
“I am finished. I am finished,” she sobbed all the way, pausing in-between. “I don’t know where to move to or where to run to from here. I have lost my husband, I have lost my crops in the farm and my house was set on fire with all my foodstuff. I seriously need help,” she continued in lamentation.
National publicity secretary of Irigwe Youth Movement, Lawrence Zango, gave a vivid account of the attack, lamenting that their community was already in a food crisis occasioned by the raid.
According to him, seven people were brutally murdered in the deadly attack, nine others were inflicted with gunshot injuries and over 200 houses burnt.
He said: “On July 31, some Fulani terrorists attacked Kpachudu village. The attack took place from 7pm to 3am without the intervention of security personnel.
“The group killed seven people, nine survived bullet shots, 275 houses burnt, including food stores. Real crops belonging to 368 people in the community were destroyed.
“More than 22,000 people were displaced, while several others fled to Jos and inside Miango District.”
Zango, therefore, called on the international community to come to their assistance as “the Nigeria government has betrayed us for long. We are currently living at the mercy of gunmen.”
The member representing Rukuba/Irigwe Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Musa Agah Avia, blamed the security agencies for failing to reach the scene of the crime in good time.
“It is terrible, my people are helpless. These gunmen attacked Jebu/Miango last night. For now, seven bodies have been recovered and well over 200 houses burnt.
“As we speak, people are still moving from one house to another to verify the level of damage. Because the destroyed houses were much, one cannot rule out that there could be more bodies, which I am not praying for,” Avia explained.
He added that several gadgets and television sets were stolen or destroyed by the mauraders, while dozens of people sustained gunshot woumds.
Avia noted that several farmlands with unripe maize and other crops were also wrecked by the invaders, leaving the people in despair and agony.
The General Officer Commanding, 3 Division, the Nigeria Army, commander of the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major General Ibrahim Ali, described the incident as a reprisal. He called for calm among the warring factions.
Ali, in a statement, signed by the military information officer, Major Ishaku Gaji Takes, commended the troops of OPSH for calming the situation.
The statement also appreciated the troops for thwarting what would have been a deadly clash between the Irigwe youths and Fulani herders at Rafin Bauna and Ijebu Miango communities in Bassa LGA of Plateau State.
It read: “The Irigwe youths attacked the Fulani herders residing in Rafin Bauna and troops intervened and normalcy was restored to the area.
“In a similar incident and in what seemed to be a reprisal attack, troops were informed of a night attack on communities at Ijebu Miango environs. Troops immediately mobilized to the scene and restored normalcy.
“Unfortunately, before the arrival of security agents, some Fulani sustained injuries, while houses belonging to Ijebu Miango community were burnt down. Troops have since been reinforced to ensure normalcy is maintained in the general area.”
The statement cautioned the irate youths against taking the law into their hands, while the leaders and stakeholders of the Fulani and Irigwe communities were enjoined to call their youths to order.
The statement also urged community leaders on both side to hand over the perpetrators of the dastardly acts to the security agencies for action.