A mass burial for thirty three bodies so far recovered from Shonong village in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, raided by gunmen on Monday, yesterday held in the village.
A community leader, Mr. Iliya Vomagai, told reporters yesterday shortly after the burial that the attackers came at about 9am, when most of the men that would have defended the community had gone to their farms.
He said the gunmen attacked the people, most of whom were women, children and the aged, and killed them, adding that the few survivors escaped with deep machete cuts.
Some of the survivors were seen with their luggage fleeing to Riyom, headquarters of the local government, to escape being caught in a possible repeat attack.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) condemned the attack, describing it as barbaric, primitive, reprehensible, despicable and odious.
It also tasked the federal government to rise to the occasion by ensuring that the gunmen engaging in intermittent mass killings in Plateau State and other parts of the North-central are arrested and prosecuted.
In a statement yesterday by the group’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the association urged the presidency to stop the plotted killings of villagers and farmers in the North by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The state government also condemned the attack, vowing to defeat the insurgents, saying it is putting measures in place to improve the security of lives and property in the state.
The Special Task Force (STF) in charge of security in the state has also deployed more personnel in the affected and neighbouring communities to avert more attacks on the local government and its environs.
It also refuted the casualty figure reported by the media, saying “nine dead bodies were recovered and five others who sustained injuries were rushed to Vom Christian Hospital by STF personnel.”
In a statement by Captain Salisu Mustapha, the STF said its men were deployed in the village immediately it received a report on the attack.
“The assailants immediately went onto burn huts, farm produce and attack innocent people. Our troops quickly called for reinforcement, repelled the attackers and secured the area. Nine dead bodies were recovered and about seven charred bodies were also recovered after the incident. Five others who sustained injuries were rushed to Vom Christian Hospital by STF personnel. Normalcy has returned and STF personnel are currently dominating the general area with patrols,” it added.
Meanwhile, Berom Youth Movement (BYM) has called on the federal government to initiate a special intervention action to stop the incessant attacks and renewed bloodshed in the state.
The group in a statement in Jos yesterday by its National Chairman, Mr. Rwang Dalyop Dantong, described as worrisome the renewed incessant attacks, adding that the Berom had not finished mourning the death of two of their kinsmen, including the acting village head of Shonong, Mathias Andrew Nkon, who were killed in similar attacks, when the attackers struck again.
“We are genuinely worried over the involvement of some STF personnel in the attacks because in the recent attacks, just like the previous ones, evidence abound of STF connivance. In fact, in the last attack on Shonong village, one Aminu, an officer of the STF, was sighted shooting innocent and armless children, while other STF members watched, claiming not to have been given orders to act. It is therefore evidently clear that it is the STF and Fulani game plan to wipe out the Berom race.
“This is why we are calling on the federal government to initiate a special intervention in this case or possibly effect a total withdrawal of the STF personnel so as to prevent further loss of innocent lives,” the group said.