From Gyang Bere, Jos
No fewer than 11 persons were at the weekend killed and 19 others inflicted with gunshots injuries when gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked Irigwe people during their annual festival, Zerreci, in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Daily Sun gathered that the incident occurred at about 11pm when the people were at the ritual ground “Chando ‘Zerreci’ to perform the exercise.
Zerreci is an annual festival that ushers in the people into the raining season, to prepare the locals ahead of farming season.
Military Information Officer, Major Ishaku Takwa, said there had been shootings around Rafiki community on Sunday morning which drew the attention of the Army to the axis.
He explained that troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN were immediately deployed to the area, adding that the Army would soon make statement about any development.
National Publicity Secretary Irigwe Youth Movement (IYM), Lawrence Zongo, confirmed that the victims were attacked with gun while others were inflicted with machete cuts.
He said: “There was an attack by Militants on April 2, at about 11pm at the ritual ground of Chando Zerreci ceremony in Bassa LGA of Plateau state. 10 people were killed and 19 persons who survived gunshots injuries are undergoing medical treatment at Enos Hospital Miango;others are in various hospitals in Jos.”
The National President of IYM, Ezekiel Bini, described the attack as barbaric and unfortunate, saying that the warring communities, the natives, and the Fulani, had earlier signed a peace accord, facilitated by the State Government to foster peaceful co-existence.
He called for quick intervention of relevant government authorities to ensure that the terror group which has vowed to wipe out the Irigwe people is stopped executing its’ plan of exterminating his people.
Bini stated that over 10 persons were killed in March, within the Irigwe village while food crops and other valuables were destroyed and burnt by killer herdsmen.
“We solicits urgent intervention of both the Federal and State governments in halting the situation. But we have viewed with dismay, how government has failed to protect lives and properties where the villagers are left at the mercy of gunmen.”
Bini alleged that the Military personnel have compromised under the Commander of the Operation SAFE HAVEN and General Officer Commanding 3rd Division, Major Gen. Ibrahim Ali .
He accused the Commander of not taken deliberate action to stop the killings, despite the early warning sign that were glaring and visible.
He said: “The Nigeria Government has the responsibility to promote and protect human rights, including the right to life, and a duty to protect civilians from attacks by taking effective measures to prevent attackers from invading rural communities, particularly the Rigwe people.
“The government must as a matter of urgency investigate the attack in Rigwe land and bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure that families and other victims are adequately compensated.”
He pleaded with International community to come to the aid of Rigwe people and to support them with humanitarian aid.
He called on President Biden, to come to the aid of Christians in Nigeria who are suffering persecution and other human rights violations including rights to life.