No fewer than 19 persons were on Wednesday killed in Kadunung village of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State by unknown gunmen.
Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen, numbering about 100, had invaded the village and shot indiscriminately at the people who were just waking up from their sleep.
It was suspected that the attack was carried out by some farmers in the area against Monday’s attack in about seven villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, where more than 20 farmers had been killed by suspected pastoralists.
The Chairman, Management Committee of Mangu Local Government, Mr. Titus Bise, who confirmed the attack, said there were over 150 houses burnt by the attackers. He said he personally led the rescue team that discovered 11 bodies.
Bise said, “After the attack, I was part of the rescue team that evacuated the victims. And so far, we have recovered 11 bodies of people burnt in their houses.
“Apart from the 11 bodies we picked from various places, there was a compound where we saw seven people burnt in their rooms. That makes 18 death people so far. We are suspecting there are bodies in the bushes. Some youths are still searching and more bodies might be recovered. But for now, we have dead bodies which have been buried already.
“The attack has created serious humanitarian problems for the government. We are talking of 5,000 residents of the village displaced; their houses were burnt by the attackers.
“Though members of the communities are alleging that the gunmen are their Berom neighbours, but that will be subject to confirmation after full investigation. I am not in the position to confirm that now.
Bise, however, appealed to government agencies at federal and state levels to come to the aid of victims. All the villagers have fled their homes to safe grounds.
“More than 5,000 may have been displaced. The report reaching me from Bauchi is that 1,000 displaced people are already taking refuge in parts of Bauchi State. The neighbouring villages are having more displaced people than they can cater for.
“The situation of the displaced is worse because rainy season is at its peak. Most of the displaced are in the open rain. That alone can increase the casualties, if nothing is done fast. I appreciate the security agencies; they are all over the village as well as its surroundings.”
But the leader of the Berom Vigilante Group in Barkin Ladi, Mr. Pam Bot, denied the allegation, saying that Berom could not have attacked its neighbours in that manner.
Bot said, “This kind of attack is that of the Fulani militias who are always lurking around the boundary between Barkin Ladi and Mangu. I have received a report of some of the gunmen who lost their lives in this particular attack. It is a confirmation that the attackers are Fulani, not Berom.
“The entire Berom community is in sympathy with families that lost their loved ones in the attack.”