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‘We buried many people inside their rooms’ — untold stories of Plateau attacks

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The day began with high hope; bright morning; good weather – the perfect kind for farming. Irimya Moses left for her farm like some other villagers in Exland, Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau state, with no slightest knowledge she won’t be returning alive. She had spent barely two hours there when around 1pm, she was rounded up and killed.

Unknown to the villagers, that single act was just a window for a more dastardly one; the kind that would later claim at least 100 lives with thousands displaced and living as ghost of themselves.

“They (the herdsmen) were three in number,” Jacob Dadi, a villager revealed on a bright afternoon. “Two ran away but one was caught by the security men and the youth. He wanted to take them to others but other herdsmen struck again and he escaped.

“Before we knew it, almost all parts of the four villages were attacked. From the west, east and south … they were everywhere. The attack was so massive that even the security operatives who were there could not stand it.”
While this was going on, other attacks were also being carried out in some other villages in Barkin Ladi as well as in Riyom. For instance, within the district – Gashis, mourners who had gone for a burial organised by the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Kakuruk village were also ambushed by suspected herders who “opened fire on them”

In the end of it all, the police confirmed 100 dead but witnesses said “almost 200” were killed.

“We buried some inside their rooms and some others were buried in mass graves,” a youth leader who gave his name as Davou said.

Although the reason for the attack is not yet confirmed, multiples sources said five herdsmen were killed days leading to the incident, with cows rustled.

 

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