Over 15 killed in fresh Plateau attack despite 24-hour curfew

NO fewer than 15 people, mostly children and women, were killed by assailants in Kwahaslalek village, a community in the Mangu Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State, on Tuesday night, January 23.

The ICIR gathered that the victims were killed and burnt in their village in what seems like a reprisal attack to the killings of some Fulanis in some Muslim-dominated communities in the LGA.

Killings continue in the LGA despite a 24-hour curfew declared by the state government on the LGA following rising attacks that had led to the death of many residents.

According to a local source who spoke with The ICIR, before the curfew was declared on Tuesday, January 22, a community believed to be harbouring Fulanis was attacked by Christians retaliating against alleged earlier attacks by the Fulanis.

The incident further escalated, leading to indigenous Muslims from Mangabu allegedly resorting to burning the homes of Christians residing in the community in retaliation for the earlier violence.

“The killings are more of a reprisal attack because yesterday morning, there was an attack on a community that harboured Fulanis who are killing Christians in Mangu LGA by Christian people, saying that if they did not allow their people to live in the village, why should they (Fulani) come and live in the community?. 

“Then Mangabu indigenes that are Muslims started burning Mangabu people that are Christians. It continued until after an hour or two that the curfew was declared. There was information that Fulanis were coming from Dengkon, in Bokkos LGA, to attack our communities in Mangu. Of course, they came. It was yesterday night that Kwaghalalek was attacked. 

“It was more of a coordinated attack because they went to Sarbot, Mairana, but were unable to attack Mairana, and they went to Kinat,” the source said.

The source explained that as of the morning of Wednesday, January 24, over 15 people were killed and burnt inside their homes in Kwaghalalek on Tuesday night, adding that some houses in Kinat were also set ablaze.

“Based on the information we got, they killed and burnt about 15 people, but the number is still coming up. About 15 people were killed and burnt inside their homes. They attacked Kinat, which is under the Mangu area, as well. They were also able to set ablaze a house in the community and then burnt a Sharon vehicle too.”

    The source accused the military of bias in the crisis and said the violence had ethno-religious undertone.

    “This thing is becoming more of ethnic cleansing, and secondly, the one currently going on in Mangu has turned to religious conflict. Initially, it used to be Fulani and ethnic indigenous people, but the one that happened yesterday was more religious because churches and mosques were touched.”

    Police keep mum on number of casualties

    Meanwhile, when The ICIR contacted the state Police public relations officer, Alfred Alabo, he confirmed the Tuesday night attack on Kwahaslalek village and the other communities.

    Alabo, however, disclosed that the Police were yet to ascertain the casualty figures and level of destruction, stressing that investigations were ongoing.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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