Some internally displaced in Jos, Plateau State capital, have returned to Kakuruk village in Gashish district of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state, after been displaced for over six months.
The returnees on Tuesday joined their Christian counterparts to celebrate Christmas at the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN).
The church was among several buildings destroyed during the attack by suspected herdsmen in Barkin Ladi, which left many dead others homeless.
However, after intervention by security operatives and Plateau State Government some of the displaced persons were returned to their homes to join in the celebration of the Christmas.
Reverend Polycarp Davwar of COCIN, during the service, expressed happiness over the return of the displaced persons and the increase of the congregation.
The returnees sang praises and worship in thanksgiving during the Christmas church service in spite of the dilapidated condition of the burnt church.
Reverend Davwar in his message asked the government to improve on the security within the area so as to encourage the remaining villagers.
He urged government and security agents to put in more efforts in confidence building for the people with assistance in reconstructing destroyed buildings as well as providing interventions for destroyed farmlands.
Gunmen have attacked two villages in Plateau State, killing eight persons, burning down 95 houses, and stealing more than 300 cattle.
The gunmen struck the villages – Abonong and Zayit – in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday night.
Spokesperson of the Plateau State Police Command, Tyopev Terna, said the police received a report about the attack at about 8 pm that night and deployed additional personnel in the area to restore law and order in the area and prevent further attacks.
“On the 28/08/2018 at about 2000hrs, the Plateau State Police Command, Jos received an information that some communities in Foron District of Barkin Ladi LGA namely; Abonong and Zayit were under attack by unknown gunmen,” he said in a statement.
“The Command quickly mobilised to the communities. While the Police were approaching the areas, the attackers sighted them from afar and ran away from the scene of crime.
“As a result of the attack, Eight (8) persons lost their lives, three (3) people were injured, ninety-five (95) houses were burnt down and three hundred and ten (310) Cattle were stolen.”
Apart from deploying more personnel “to prevent further attacks”, the police are trying to nab the gunmen.
“Investigation is ongoing to track and arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act to face the consequences of their actions,” Terna said.
Residents of villages in Plateau State affected by the incessant killings and attacks have continued to abandon their homes seeking refuge in nearby villages perceived to be safe.
Channels Television’s correspondent on Monday confirmed that residents, mostly women and children in Gashish District left their homes following Saturday’s killings in search of safety in the Barkin Ladin Local Government Secretariat.
Over the weekend, the police confirmed that 86 persons were killed in the attack by suspected herdsmen on Gashish district of Barkin Ladi Local Government area and six others injured with various wounds of gunshot and matchet.
Many houses numbering at least 50, vehicles and many motorcycles were also burnt.
Residents, however, said on Monday that the death toll has risen to over 100 persons killed.
Villages affected by the attacks include Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Nghar, Kura falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish district of Barkin Ladi local government.
In order to avert the breakdown of law and order, the Plateau State government on Sunday announced a dusk to dawn curfew in three local government areas of Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South respectively.
The curfew was imposed by the state government to avert any spill and curb the escalation of the crisis, forestalling reprisal attack.
“I am very sad to hear the news of the incident in Plateau State. This is very depressing and giving the impression that the country is not safe. The problem of Boko Haram in the North-east is well known to everybody but this killing by an unknown band of assailants in Benue, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna States is now giving another dimension to the crisis. Coming at the time we are getting ready for elections, we need to respond fast,” Saraki said on Sunday.
He assured residents that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
“The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau today is painful and regrettable. My deepest condolences to the affected communities. We will not rest until all murderers and criminal elements and their sponsors are incapacitated and brought to justice,” Buhari said.
The Plateau State Police Command has announced a ten-million-naira reward for anyone that can provide useful information leading to the arrest of perpetrators of the gruesome murder of a Plateau monarch, the chief of Bokkos, Saf Ron Kulere and three others.
Police Commissioner, Adekunle Oladunjoye, made the announcement at the police headquarters in Jos during the working visit of the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 4, Mr Agboola Oshodi.
The Police Commissioner said that investigation was still ongoing in the murder of the monarch and the reward placed on the suspected killers was an evidence of the commitment of the Police and the state government in finding the perpetrators of the crime.
The first class traditional ruler was gruesomely murdered by unknown gunmen on Monday, July 18, 2016 alongside three others while others sustained injuries from the attack.
He was attacked in his village, Sha, while coming back from the farm along Bokkos-Barkin Ladi Road on Monday evening in company of his son, the police orderly and the driver.
Rising from an emergency meeting of the Security Council over the unfortunate incident, Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, advised the public and residents of the affected areas to comply with the imposition of the restriction order and cooperate with security personnel deployed to the area to maintain law and order.
The Plateau State Security Council has imposed a 24 hour curfew on Bokkos Local Government Area following the protest that followed the brutal murder of the paramount ruler of Bokkos and some of his aides.
Rising from an emergency meeting of the Security Council over the unfortunate incident, Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, in a statement advised the general public and residents of the affected areas to comply with the imposition of the restriction order and cooperate with security personnel deployed to the area to maintain law and order.
Angry youths of Bokkos had on Thursday protested the murder of the paramount ruler of Bokkos, Saf Ron-Kulere, Lazarus Agai and three others on Monday evening.
The aggrieved youths took to the streets protesting and blocking the highway between Bokkos and Barkin Ladi to express their grievances on the killings.
The Plateau State Police Commissioner, Olakunle Oladunjoye, explained that contrary to insinuations that that the traditional ruler was shot, he died as a result of the vehicle losing control after the driver of his vehicle was shot.
Security operatives have banned the movement of cattle and herdsmen after 7PM in Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Jos South Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
The Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major General Tagbo Ude, made the announcement during a town hall meeting between community leaders, village heads and Ardos of the affected communities as part of efforts to maintain law and order in the areas.
Top of the agenda at the meeting was the return of internally displaced persons ousted from both the Berom and Fulani settlements.
They also looked into the issue of maintaining peace and having an understanding between the cattle rearers and farmers especially during the rainy season.
During the interactive session some community leaders expressed concerns on issues of internally displaced persons returning to their homes, in spite of the assurances that it was safe for them return to commence.
Major-General Ude again allayed their fears on the destruction of newly built houses of returning displaced persons. He maintained that security operatives would be available to protect such structures.
He went ahead to read the riot act to perpetrators of such crimes, insisting that the security agencies would not condone any excesses.
The banning of night grazing was one of the agreements reached at the town hall meeting. Participants expressed hope that all concerned would adhere to the decisions taken and embrace peace for the sake of development.
No fewer than 18 persons were killed in an attack on Wednesday morning by yet to be identified marauders in Kadunu village of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.
A statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle, said the attack emanated from bordering communities of Kadunu in Mangu Local Government Area and Fan in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
The statement added that “it is regrettable that as efforts are being made by the government to see the end of violent conflicts in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and parts of Jos South Local Government Areas, the state is faced with another communal clash.
The National Secretary of Piem Chiefdom Development Association, Usman Yakubu Idi, told Channels Television that that the dead persons have been buried so far, adding that others are still missing and over 150 houses were destroyed during the raid.
The Special Task Force Spokesman, Capt. Iweha Ikedichi, also confirmed the attack and described it as a possible reprisal following an earlier attack on another community bordering the Kadunu Community, maintaining that the attack is “selective in nature”.
No arrest has been made so far but Capt. Ikedichi said that security personnel are on the trail of the suspects.
Some indigenes of Plateau State in Abuja have called on the Federal and State Governments to take practical steps to end alleged senseless killings in the state that has escalated in the last three months.
The group, who had a night candle procession in Abuja to mourn their dead loved ones, further alleged that since May this year, an average of 10 people are killed daily, especially in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Bokkos Local Government Areas of the State.
They called on President Muhamadu Buhari to prevail on the security and other relevant agencies to restore peace to the villages as well as provide succor to survivors of the attacks
The group further alleged that since 2010, when over 500 people were killed in an onslaught in Dogonahawa Village, the condition has worsen as gunmen attack villages at random killing and destroying villagers’ means of livelihoods.
The group called on the government to address the situation and stop the killings.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) led by the Commander of Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven, Major General Henry Ayoola has embarked on a sensitisation tour in the Plateau in a bid to promote peace among warring factions and to proffer long lasting solution to the security challenge in the area.
While addressing community leaders, Major General Ayoola pointed out that the time has come to find lasting solution to the security challenge in the state and stated that everybody should be involved in the peace building process.
He called on all warring factions in the Plateau crises to put behind them all forms of acrimony and bitterness by forgiving one another and embrace peace, tolerance and peaceful coexistence as well as have mutual respect for one another.
During the sensitisation tour of affected Local Government Areas, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Jos South and Jos North, Major General Ayoola urged everyone to make a decision of embracing peace by forgetting the past and look ahead to a brighter and peaceful future in order to restore plateau state back to its former glory.
The Gbong Gwom Jos, Jacob Gyang Buba in turn cautioned members of the task force to engage the rule of engagement by exhibiting professionalism in their conduct and remain neutral in the cause of maintaining law and order.
Plateau State Government also stated its commitment to collaborate with the task force and any other agencies in finding lasting solution to the incessant attacks in some communities across the state with assurance that peaceful coexistence in the state is not negotiable.
The special task force is also offering free medical services, provision of portable water by sinking boreholes in the affected areas as well as providing order social amenities in order to promote peace in the state.
Plateau State Police Command today made arrests in connection with disturbances in Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government areas, as hostilities in the villages between natives and Fulani herdsmen resumed in Riyom.
The arrests were made Thursday morning as irate youths filed out to protest killings of their kinsmen in the communities thereby disrupting commercial activities on the highway.
Plateau State Police Commissioner, Dipo Ayeni, told Channels Television that security has been reinforced in the affected communities while some suspects have been transferred to the Police Headquarters in Jos for investigation and subsequent prosecution.
The police boss condemned the various attacks and reprisals which have punctuated the relative peace enjoyed recently in the past few months and urge all warring factions to return to the negotiating table to present their views instead of resorting to mayhem.
Prior to the security intervention on Thursday, a group of protesting young men barricaded the highway disrupting commercial activities and molesting travellers.
Chairman, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Emmanuel Loman, confirmed the reinforcement of security personnel to the area adding that the local government authority is making concerted efforts to reach out to warring factions, particularly the youths with the aim of addressing the issue that led to the skirmishes and renewed hostilities.