‘215 Irigwe, Plateau indigenes killed since September 2017’
An activist and community leader in Irigwe chiefdom of Bassa council area in Plateau State, Evangelist Jerry Dattim, says no fewer than 215 indigenes have been killed since September 2017 till date.
Datim, who claimed to be a close watcher of the farmers-herders clashes in the council, told The Guardian the records and names of all victims killed by the suspected herdsmen were intact.
According to him, when the last attack took place in Dong village of Jos North Local Council, “all the villagers ran away without any single soul left. But we stood our ground. We did not run away. We, myself and the three members of the vigilance group who were massacred that night, faced them.”
He continued: “The assailants came clad in black and black and were armed to the teeth. We were seeing them with our naked eyes, because I was there live.
“When they opened fire, everybody ran away. There was no single human being who was left in Dong. They all ran away. We stood our ground until when the ‘Operation Rainbow’ (the state security outfit created by Jonah Jang administration) came. Then they started pursuing the attackers with their armoured tank. Then, they retreated. So, my boys thought that, maybe, they had succeeded in chasing them away.
“Unknown to them, they climbed the rock and opened fire on the boys. Also, the military Special Taskforce (STF) came to the market square led by a colonel. We were shouting, sir, our boys are on top of that rock, they have killed them. Can you lead us to go and recover the dead bodies?
“The colonel said he could not do anything. It is night. So, they can’t go for operation in the night. I ask, so Fulani can go for operation in the night? These are bloody civilians who are not trained in the art of war and somebody who is well-trained for years will tell you he cannot fight in the night. They all waited there for about 30 minutes and they went back to their base.”
Dattim said as early as 4.30.a.m. the next day, he and one other person went to the rock and recovered the three corpses before being buried.
He charged the Department of State Services (DSS) and the military to be more proactive in intelligence gathering.
Datti deplored the alleged arrest of the locals by security operatives for reportedly being in possession of firewood, sticks, and cutlasses to defend themselves against any invasion.
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