At least 21 people have been killed in a week of armed attacks in the Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The attacks chiefly in farming villages in the north and east of the LGA have seen as high as 34 people injured and several houses razed according to media reports.
The latest attack on 22 November in a group of villages known as Kwatas, located 5miles northeast of Bokkos town killed nine people and injured more than 20 others according to locals.
In the early hours of November 23, eight corpses were recovered from the scene of the attack in Dadin Kowa, an extension of a farming town known as Wumat, said a former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Titus Alams who is a native of Kwatas.
“As usual, they burned houses, cars and motorcycles,” Alams said in a phone interview, blaming the concentration of securities in a town close to Bokkos for the high casualty.
“It started from Fakkos where they attacked one house and securities were mobilized. But while the securities focussed on Fakkos, they went and invaded Wumat and you know the nature of our roads. Before securities could arrive, the damage had been done,” he said.
A resident of the village who witnessed the attack, Mr. John Goshe said the terrorists numbering more than 200 encircled the village at about 10:15pm, shooting and burning houses.
The attackers who according to him spoke the Fulani dialect were made of several groups which marched together throughout the raid.
“One group had guns,” he said in a telephone interview. “That group was at the forefront. Another group carried bags of ammunition while another group carried fuel with which they burned houses. There were other people who stood in the bushes and on the roads targeting people who tried to escape,” he added.
Goshe who said he lost four relations in the attack, including three who were burned in a house, noted the family house of the immediate past commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning in Plateau State, Sylvester Wallamko was also razed.
He noted more than 20 houses were razed in the attack which displaced 80% of the 300 residents of the town.
Mr. Wallamko, a House of Assembly aspirant who hails from the village did not answer phone calls for confirmation. But social media photos from the scene of the attack show Wallamko standing in different burnt houses amid large crowds.
The attack followed days after a similar attack in the market town of Maikatako, located 10miles from Kwatas which killed 11 people. The attack by 300 terrorists according to witnesses saw seven other residents injured. At least five houses and a Church were also razed, said Bitrus Dang, a town leader who was shot in the attack.
The attack on 16 November was immediately followed by another invasion of a nearby Folloh — a village of 3mins drive from Maikatako which killed at least one person and injured seven others. The evening raid by 300 terrorists according to residents also razed 20 houses.
Within the preceding month, more than 30 people were killed in Bokkos by terrorists seeking to takeover communities in Bokkos according to Solomon Maren, the member representing Mangu/Bokkos constituency in the Nigerian House of Representatives.
The terrorists, Maren said belong to the herding clans of the Fulani ethnicity which has been blamed for thousands of genocidal massacres in Nigeria.
“Over 300,000 hectares of crop farmlands have also been destroyed by the herders due to deliberate and reckless grazing without caution and or fear of any body. Most farmers had little or no harvest due to this wicked action of unscrupulous herders,” he wrote.
“This is a systematic, well coordinated and pre-planned attack aimed at total ethnic cleansing and annihilation of indigenous inhabitants towards a slow land grabbing agenda,” wrote Maren in a statement, noting more than 60 native villages in Plateau have so far been seized by the terrorists.