Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday invaded three communities at Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, killing three members of the Special Task Force (STF) and six civilians.
It will be recalled that there was a tension in the local government on Monday as a result of the killing of 60 cattle belonging to Fulani herdsmen, thus forcing the STF to mobilise to Mahanga community to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
A source close to Rim and Jol villages in the local government told the Nigerian Tribune that gunmen suspected to be Fulani mercenaries swooped on the two villages with sophisticated weapons in the early hours of Wednesday and attacked the inhabitants.
The source said the people had earlier got wind of the attack and alerted the security agencies, who deployed their men to the area, adding that the attackers, who were in large number, overpowered the security men on ground and in the attack, killed three men of the STF.
According to him, due to the superior fire force couple with the number of the gunmen, they were able to penetrate the two villages and killed six civilians and set no fewer than 20 houses ablaze, adding that the number could have been more than, but many of the villagers had fled into the bush when the encounter of the gunmen with the STF men was on.
Majority Leader, Plateau State House of Assembly, Honourable Daniel Dem, who is also from the constituency, confirmed the incident, adding that prior to Wednesday attack, there had been intense rumour of a plan to attack the local government. While residents of Riyom had also recently raised the alarm that the Fulani had a camp in Rim, where insurgents were being trained for possible attack on Berom villages.
The Media and Information Officer of the STF, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, who confirmed the incident to the Nigerian Tribune, said three men of the force and six civilians were killed in the attack.
He said more men of the STF had been deployed to the area and currently combing the hills and surroundings to track down the gunmen who carried out the attack.
He enjoined people of the affected community and surrounding villages to remain calm, adding that security agencies were making efforts to track down the perpetrators. [NT]