From Jude Owuamanam, Jos

A family of five, a man, his three children and grand daughter, were among the 30 people killed in the renewed clashes between the locals and Fulani herders in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.

The man, identified as David, his son, Emmanuel, daughter, Beatrice, and two others, whose names were yet to be ascertained at press time, were said to have been burnt in their house in the Sabon Kasuwa area of Kwagas Layir in Mangu town. One of the girls was said to be his granddaughter, who is an SS1 student. The man was said to be a native of Langtang North, but working in Mangu local government area.

The rampaging gunmen were said to have defied the curfew imposed by Governor Caleb Mutfwang to attack the Kwagas Layir, Sabon Kasuwa and the surrounding communities where they killed no fewer than 30 people and burnt some property, too.

Special Adviser on Security to Mutfwang, Gakji Shipi, had told Daily Sun that the problem was sparked off by an altercation between a local and a Fulani herder over right of way. The herder was said to have herded his cows across the Mangu road when the local riding on a motorcycle challenged him. The altercation was said to have snowballed into a free-for-all as sympathisers of both parties joined the fray.

Earlier Tuesday, a TruthNigeria, a non-governmental organisation, had raised fears of possible attacks in the area when it said it  received credible information, indicating that a convoy of armed gunmen, originating from Marit, Exland, Josho, Mahanga, Mushere, and Ruku, comprising of motorbikes with three individuals on each, was en route to Mangu and neighbouring villages in Bokkos local government areas.

The security alert had said: “All residents and security personnel are urged to exercise heightened vigilance and take immediate precautions. Stay indoors, avoid unnecessary travel, and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities. Security forces are actively responding to the situation, but public cooperation is essential for a swift and effective response.

“Please share this alert with your community to ensure everyone stays informed and safe. The situation is dynamic, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

A resident of Kwagas Layir, whose house was completely razed, Mrs Solome Shekar, told Daily Sun that she was yet to see her son who she left in the house.

She said: “When we heard rumours and gunshots, on Tuesday, I had to evacuate my husband who was very sick to another village, while I left my son to take care of the house. On Wednesday, the attackers went and burnt our house and as I am talking to you, I am yet to see him.”

She confirmed that the family of five was burnt inside their house in the Sabon Kasuwa area of Kwagas Layir. She also said as of yesterday afternoon, many houses were still up in flames in many parts of Mangu.

A human rights activist, Makut Alfred Mashat,  confirmed that killings were still going on in Mangu despite the presence of security agents, stressing that since the Christmas Eve massacre, many more people have been killed.

He said: “As I write this dirge with a heavy heart, Mangu is under attack and innocent villagers have been killed with concerns that the same armed forces that are supposed to protect the people are the ones conniving to aid the attackers.

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In his statement, entitled, “Tinubu, how many more Plateau lives will have to go before you hop into that military aircraft and touchdown in Plateau State?” he said: “Mr President, you have failed in securing the lives of the common Plateau man. The life of every Nigerian citizen is in your hands since the day you swore an oath to become the president of Nigeria.

“Mr President, over 1,000 lives have been lost in Plateau State between the deadliest Christmas eve, Christmas day and Boxing Day attacks in Bokkos Barkin Ladi and Mangu. Mr President, you have failed in your responsibility of securing the lives and property of Plateau citizens and this is not acceptable. Mr President, you have to declare a state of emergency in Mangu,Bokkos and Barkin and order all service chiefs to relocate to Plateau State with you leading the pack in military attire to land at the airfield base in Kerang Mangu, immediately.”

Meanwhile the General Overseers of EBOMI, Prophet Isa El-Buba, has condemned the setting up of a militia by the Miyetti Allah in Nasarawa State.

Addressing newsmen in his church, yesterday, Buba described it as a dangerous trend, which, if allowed, will spell doom for the country, stressing that the setting up of the militia in Nasarawa has confirmed that the state is the hub of Fulani militia in the country.

He said: “I take exception to, and reject the lame, obnoxious, insanely hypocritical and ill-intentioned purported creation of a Nomad Vigilance Group in Nasarawa State by Bello Bodejo’s Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH). More insulting to Nigerians’ psyche and the memory of thousands gruesomely killed and displaced by Fulani militias, is the group’s purported joke to invite known terrorist, Turji, and other Fulani militia leaders to work in the vigilance group.

“The sheer hypocrisy is crystal clear in the interconvertibility of how Miyetti Allah’s tribesmen in the mould of Fulani militias, who have been terrorising, killing and maiming Nigerians in most part of the country, will now be the same people to quickly resort to creating a Nomad vigilance group.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this is a Greek gift to our security architecture! And we are calling on relevant authorities to rein in and clamp down on Miyetti Allah. This is sacrosanct to abort an underhanded and systematic plan to overrun, especially North Central Nigeria with, and by Fulani militias’ group seeking to disguise as nomadic vigilante and consolidate Nasarawa State as a harbouring ground and operational foot hold given the state’s borders with Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and the FCT, where there are prevailing security challenges.”

The prophet decried the effects of escalating insecurity in Nigeria, especially on the agricultural sector, saying that, “Data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Foreign investment in the agricultural sector in the third quarter of 2015 was $95.10 million, in Quarter 3 of 2023, it was at an all-time low $4.64 million, representing a 95% decline.

“What chased the investments? Rising insecurity within the same period. Like we know, this agricultural sector investment decline carries a corresponding decline of some 60% in food production. The direct impact of this on the average Nigerian is the unbearable high surge in food prices, which economists measured to have quickened to be at an all high 33.93% food inflation rate already, the nation’s headline inflation has accelerated to 28.95% as of today. He called on the president to tackle insecurity headlong.

Also, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Plateau State chapter, has condemned  in totality the resurgence of violence in Mangu town of the state.

JNI, in a statement signed by Secretary, Dr. Salim Musa Umar, expressed dismay that the crisis started in the morning of Tuesday, from the outskirts of Mangu town, and spread into the town later in the day.

“This, unfortunately, has degenerated into a seemingly ethno-religious crisis, where places of worship were torched. Reports from Mangu town, this morning, are not encouraging as places of worship and faith-based schools were torched and demolished while the killing continues again.

“Residents are decrying the negative role of the state government security outfit, codenamed ‘Operation Rainbow’, accusing them of glaring partisanship. We call on the government and security agencies to intensify their efforts in securing the lives and properties of the inhabitants of Mangu and other flash points. All concerned should also do everything possible to prevent any possible escalation.”