Nigeria: Attacks Continue in Plateau Community Despite Curfew

Caleb Mutfwang, the state governor, imposed the curfew after fatal violence occurred in the local council on Tuesday.

Residents of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State said they were attacked Wednesday morning as armed men continued wreaking havoc despite a 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government on Tuesday.

Caleb Mutfwang, the state governor, imposed the curfew after fatal violence occurred in the local council on Tuesday.

The crisis, primarily between indigenous farmers and migrant herders, continued around 09:30 a.m. when armed men “in their large numbers invaded the entire community,” Uba Shehu, a resident of Mangu Alle town, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Shehu said Mangu Alle was not affected yesterday when the crisis engulfed other areas in the local council.

When contacted, Sunday Dankaka, the president of Mwaghavul Youth Movement (MYM) said: “Let’s talk later, we are under attack now.”

The Plateau governor’s spokesperson, Gyang Bere, told PREMIUM TIMES that the government was working hard to stop the violence.

“The curfew is still there,” he said, noting the government is working with community leaders to “arrest” the deteriorating situation.

Yesterday’s terror

The violence, according to residents of the area, started around 06:00 a.m. on Tuesday until the governor imposed the curfew a few hours later.

Despite uncertain casualty figures, armed men razed down churches and mosques in Anguwan Dawo, Old Market and Bayan Kasuwa suburbs of the local council.

“No one can say the number of people killed yesterday,” Mr Shehu said. “Some people are currently in hospitals while scores of people were killed in Gangara Kwata.”

He explained that the assailants came in through Mangu North and invaded Gangara Kwata, asking the residents to “fish out Fulanis taking refuge in the community.”

The violence later escalated to other areas, where worship centres and shops were set ablaze.

Before the violence broke out, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that there was a gunfight between some suspected cattle rustlers and herders on Monday evening.

The trigger?

Multiple sources in the area told our correspondent that two major incidents on Monday could have triggered the violence.

A businessman who asked not to be named for fear of being targeted said a herder and a local had clashed along a bridge linking Jos to Mangu.

“The Mwaghavul man from Sabon Gari was riding on a motorcycle and crushed one of the cattle being shepherded by the herder,” he narrated. “The herder retaliated by striking him with his stick. The military later intervened and settled the case.”

According to him, other vehicles and motorcycles were waiting for the herds of cattle to cross the bridge.

This correlates with what Shipi Gakji, a security adviser to the Plateau State governor, said. According to Daily Trust, Mr Gakji attributed yesterday’s conflict to a dispute over right of way.

Another resident of the area, who also pleaded for anonymity, said there were cases of attempted cattle rustling from herders settlements near Gangara Kwata Monday evening.

“But they were repelled by the [armed] herders and the situation turned violent the following morning,” he explained.

Previous violence in Mangu

Last April, a resource-based conflict between Mwaghavul farmers and Fulani herders rocked the local council claiming over 300 lives. Schools, farmlands, livestock, houses and other properties were lost to the violence that lasted for months.

Both parties accused each other of inviting mercenaries from other places to aid what they described as “land grabbing, forceful eviction and ethnic cleansing.”

A week before the Christmas Eve massacre in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local councils of Plateau State, locals said there was an attack on Duwel village where armed men killed four people.

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