The death toll in last weekend’s attacks on some villages in three
local government areas of Plateau State by herdsmen has hit 135, as
President Muhammadu Buhari visited the troubled state yesterday.
The report on Monday shows that no fewer than 120 persons, comprising
34 in Nekan, 39 in Kufang and 47 in Ruku villages, were killed in the
coordinated attacks, though the Police confirmed 86 casualties.
However, the attacks which continued on Monday, despite the
dawn-to-dusk curfew imposed on the three local government areas by the
Plateau State Government, claimed 15 persons more as at yesterday in
Dorowa Babuje village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. The new
toll came as the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was on
an on-the-spot visit to Plateau State on Monday, warned against
religious war in the country, even as the the Inspector-General of
Police, Ibrahim Idris, yesterday removed the state Police
Commissioner, Undie Adie, who was redeployed to Force Headquarters in
Abuja. On the fresh attacks on Dorowa Babuje village in Bakin Ladi
Local Government Area, Monday, residents said the 15 victims were
killed as their houses were also razed by the attackers. A resident,
Friday Dusu, said: “We are in hiding now because it seems the security
forces are targeting us. Assemblies of God Church, First Baptist
Church, Tsauke Baptist Church, Living Faith Church and COCIN LCC
Ratatis, have all been razed down in Dorowa Babuje.” Residents in the
affected communities in Barkin Ladi also complained that men of
Operation Safe Haven forced people in the attacked communities to
secretly bury their dead. But spokesman of Operation Safe Haven, Major
Adam Umar, denied the villagers’ claims, saying “nobody forced anybody
to bury the dead. The dead had to be buried and that was exactly what
they did. “The issue is that when a person is dead, definitely, it is
our tradition that the person must be buried. They buried them. If you
have a dead body, must somebody force you to bury the dead person?
Asked about the ploy to destroy evidence which would support the
number of casualties claimed, he added: “What evidence? If you look at
it, there are numbers that were being given, yes, people give numbers,
we are security operatives and we give out the numbers when we are
sure that this is the exact number because this thing happened. “Some
were killed in their rooms, some were killed in their compounds, and
some were even killed in their farms. “So nobody forced anybody to
bury, they had to bury because if you leave dead bodies, they could
even affect the people that are alive.” Osinbajo warns Meanwhile,
addressing stakeholders from communities affected by the attacks at
Government House, Jos, on Monday night, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
advised against stoking religious war, noting that no nation had ever
survived one. Osinbajo, who expressed displeasure at the level of
carnage, said the travesty must not be allowed to fester. He said: “We
must condemn killings of any kind. It doesn’t matter whether these
killings are by herdsmen, villagers, or whether it is villagers who in
one way or the other have killed others, including herdsmen. “I think
it is important that we condemn these killings, in particular these
killings that have taken place, where so many people have lost their
lives in the last few days. There is no reason at all for anyone who
commits these offences to escape.

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