Gyang Bere, Jos
For 53-year-old Martha Bulus, life is nothing but meaningless. She is passing through excruciating pains following the attack on Kagboro community by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. The incident of Monday June 16, 2019, left behind four dead including a military officer with the Operation Safe Haven and several houses burnt.
Martha lost almost everything she has acquired through out her life. She lost her two children, food, clothes, house and other properties destroyed and set ablaze, leaving her without a roof over her head. The incident forced her to flee the remote village as she did not have anything to eat coupled with the fact that she has no place to lay her head and her security not guaranteed.
The attack occurred at about 11pm when people were fast asleep, leaving the entire community in confusion. Martha was not lucky as two of her children, Samon Bulus and Zhime Bulus perished in the attack: “ I am finished, where do I go from here? Everything I had was destroyed over night, what have I done to deserve this?
“It was at about 11pm that day when everybody was sleeping. We were not expecting anything and we have never witnessed such gory and ugly incident. I heard people screaming and crying, before I could find out what was happening, I heard gunshots.
“The people were already in my house and my children were sleeping. If I had come back to wake them up then I would have also perished in the attack. I had to run for escape until they finished the operation, which lasted for about 30 minutes.
“When they left, we all came out from our hideout, but the entire village was on fire. Several houses and bans were burnt foodstuffs and other valuables were destroyed. People had to leave the community the following morning for fear of the unknown.”
Also, Rebecca and Mashik who are both married women escaped with their children but their houses and foodstuffs were burnt. They were wailing and crying when they returned the following morning to the community and met the damages. They were helpless and hopeless as they fled the community to unknown destination, begging for survival.
Villagers said over 300 herdsmen invaded the village, shooting indiscriminately and burning houses including a government-owned clinic after overpowering men of the vigilance group who tried to resist them.
Publicity Secretary, Miango Development Association (MDA), Lawrence Zongo, said it was the Irigwe settlement close to Kaduna State that was attacked, leaving four people dead and several houses burnt:
“More than 200 Fulani militia attacked Irigwe community and killed three children. They included, Monday Yahaya, eight years, Samson David, 15 years and Zhime Danladi nine years. They were all buried according to Christian rites. STF Mobile Police officer was also killed and one person who survived is receiving treatment at Enos Hospital, Miango.
“They burnt all the houses in the village, farms destroyed, properties worth millions of naira lost. Presently all the villagers have fled.”
Lawmaker representing Riyom Constituency in the House of Assembly, Timothy Datong, said: “Four of our people including security personnel were killed during the incident. Many were wounded. We have also counted at least 54 houses that were completely burnt down by the attackers.
“It was the heavily armed Fulani people numbering over 300 that came to attack our people. I am going to present the issue as a matter of urgent public importance before the House of Assembly when we convene because this thing cannot be allowed to continue.
“The invasion started around 12 pm on Monday and did not stop until more than four hours. I was in touch with the Commander of the STF in charge of security in the state. He assured me he was going to mobilise his men to quell the situation. I was then surprised at the extent of destruction that occurred.”
At the moment, the people are helpless and hopeless, they have no roofs over their heads and have all fled the community. Hunger and starvation is looming in the community, as government has not addressed the crisis. They cannot go to their farms for fear of being attacked again.