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Tension In Plateau As Gunmen kills 11 people, Burn Houses

Plateau State indigenous peoples and the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) are at odds over a gunman’s nocturnal raid on Te’egbe hamlet in Bassa Local Government Area of the state, in which 11 people were killed.

The intruders reportedly inflicted horror on the residents during the incident, which occurred about 1.00 a.m., killing and burning houses at random.

The attack resulted in the deaths of ten people and the destruction of 30 homes, according to the authorities.

The Irigwe Development Association, in response to the incident, portrayed it as part of a broad scheme by herdsmen to force the Irigwe people out of their ancestral territory.

He bemoaned the fact that attacks on the Irigwe people had not ceased.

The state branch of MACBAN, on the other hand, claimed that the allegations leveled against its members in connection with the recent killings in Te’egbe were simply an expression of hatred for the herders.

The current attack on the Irigwe, according to Prince Robert Arshi, the National President of the Irigwe Development Association, was unexpected, given recent peace and reconciliation meetings between the locals and the Fulani community.

“The motive of these attackers is not far from the fact that they want to push us out and claim our lands for grazing. Our neighbouring villages to Kaduna have been displaced and our people have since relocated. 

“Just two weeks ago, they killed two people in Anchan village. While still mourning these people, they invaded Te’egbe community on Friday and killed another eleven, injured four others injured and burned many houses despite the series of reconciliation meeting to make us live in peace.” 

He urged security agencies to apprehend the culprits of the heinous crime. The state branch of MACBAN, on the other hand, slammed the claim that Te’egbe was attacked by herdsmen on Friday.

The association’s state head, Malam Muhammad Nuru Abdullahi, said in a statement that the charge was nothing more than a manifestation of intolerance for herders.

“We are saying that the allegation is false. The Irigwe people should have allowed the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the attack before jumping to conclusions based on perceptions,” it said. 

For some time now, the Bassa Local Government Area, particularly the Irigwe axis, has been witnessing the loss of lives and the damage of homes and farmlands as a result of incessant gunman attacks.

To defuse the tension, the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre in Jos held a parley in October, at which natives and Fulani settlers embraced one another and proclaimed their commitment to work together.

Mr Danjuma Auta, Secretary General of the Irigwe Development Association, confirmed the attack, adding that a week ago, a group of herders sent a threat message to the military on social media, demanding free grazing in all settlements in Irigwe land or the people should prepare for war.

Auta said: “Although the military dismissed the threat, the marauders made good their threat as they attacked Ancha village on Tuesday, 23 November, 2021, and killed two people. 

“Again, these same Fulani herders attacked Te’egbe village in the early hours of Friday. Already, we have established the death of 11 people while a search for other victims is ongoing. 

“We have met at different forums with the Fulani community and promised to embrace peace but with the renewed attacks on innocent citizens, we wonder if the peace accord is anything to hold on to. 

“The Irigwe nation has embraced peace and is ready to continue to pursue the path of peace with everyone but we will not close our eyes to the deceit that we are witnessing today. 

“If those who are saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting us feel overwhelmed and can no longer guarantee our safety, they should come out publicly and tell Nigerians. 

“Our people are beginning to lose confidence in security outfits since even their presence could not stop the attackers. This speaks volumes as to how endangered we have become as a people.” He noted that since attacks have been taking place, no single Fulani hamlet had been attacked by any Irigwe man. 

“They burned several of our communities and killed our people. We are pleading with the president of our dear nation to come to our rescue before it is too late,” Auta added Gov Lalong condemn attack, orders arrest of perpetrators Meanwhile, the state governor, Simon Bako Lalong, has condemned the latest attack on Te’egbe village. 

The governor, in a statement signed by his Director of Press Affairs, Dr Makut Simon Macham, said the attack was another sad incident which was “clearly the handiwork of criminals” that were bent on instilling fear in the people with a view to destabilising the state. 

Governor Lalong said there was no explanation that could justify the attack and therefore directed security agencies to take immediate and drastic steps to arrest the perpetrators. 

He said: “The persistent attacks in this general area remain condemnable and unacceptable to government. As such, no resources and efforts will be spared in painstakingly following up on the trail of those who derive joy in attacking and killing innocent citizens and destroying their homes and livelihoods. 

“I expect the security agencies to deploy everything at their disposal to arrest those who carried out the crime, no matter how long it takes. The government will not take any excuse for failure to achieve this directive.” 

While expressing his condolences to the victims and families of those killed, Lalong assured them that justice would be served because the government would stop at nothing to find those responsible for the heinous crimes that continue to disrupt the livelihoods of the people of the local government area.

He urged the public to provide vital information to security services in order for them to discover the identity of the criminals and the motives behind the attacks.

The attack resulted in the deaths of ten people and the destruction of 30 homes, according to the authorities.

In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Ubah Gabriel Ogaba, the state police command said that after receiving the information of the attack, the Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka, dispatched a tactical squad to the scene. The terrorists killed ten people and set fire to roughly 30 homes, according to the report.

The commissioner led other senior officers to the location for an on-the-spot evaluation and to express condolences to the victims of the incident, according to the command. According to the statement, the CP has ordered a discreet inquiry and told the community that he is ready to apprehend those responsible for “this horrific conduct.”

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