Why troops failed to repel attacks on Plateau communities – DHQ

THE Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has blamed the delayed response from troops of the Nigerian army during the attacks on several communities in Bokkos and Biriki-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau state on the distance and ‘difficult’ accessibility of roads.

Addressing journalists on the incident, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Buba Edward, said that the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi areas of Plateau State spanned about 2,315 square kilometres with over 350 villages, mostly dispersed.

On Monday, December 25, The ICIR reported how the assailants attacked several communities in the state, killed scores of residents, looted farm produce, and set homes ablaze on Christmas Eve.

The attacks, according to the state Police, led to the death of about 96 people, with  221 houses set ablaze across the affected villages.

Many people were also injured in the attacks, which were carried out in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government areas of the state. About eight vehicles burnt in the process

According to the statement, three villages- NTV, Hurum and Darawat were attacked in Barkin-Ladi LGA while 12 villages were attacked in Bokkos LGA.

During the attacks on Bokkos LGA, 221 houses were set ablaze, 27 motorcycles and eight motor vehicles burnt down, and over 79 persons were killed.

Reacting to this, the DHQ stated that distance and the rugged terrain between some of these villages and troops’ locations hindered prompt accessibility.

“On the night of 23 December 2023, over 100 marauding armed militants herders suspected to be mercenaries carried out a series of unprovoked attacks from multiple fronts on Kambarpeli village in Bokkos LGA of Plateau State while the locals were asleep. The militants unleashed mayhem on the villagers before the arrival of troops to the location.

“Similarly, on 24 December 2023, at about 1900 hrs, troops received a total of 36 distress calls from diverse locations simultaneously,” he said.

Edward also disclosed that  the distress calls reported a series of coordinated attacks by armed militant herders on isolated villages in Bokkos and part of Barkin Ladi LGAs of Plateau State.

“Troops responded to the calls and were able to intervene in 19 villages forcing the militants to withdraw. Unfortunately, the havoc had been committed before troops arrived at the other villages, ” he noted.

Responding to the letters by the gunmen threatening further attacks on some other communities, Buba vowed that such an incident would never occur again in the state.

The ICIR had earlier reported that terrorists have issued fresh threats to residents of Pushit community in Mangu local government area (LGA)



    The Deputy national publicity secretary of the Middle Belt Forum, Stanley Kavwam, in an interview, stated that the terrorists threatened to launch the attack on Friday, December 29, in a warning conveyed to the community via a letter.

    The DHQ spokesperson, however, assured that the military has put measures in place to ensure the lapses that enabled the last attacks do not repeat itself.

    He said, “Attacks on Plateau will never repeat itself. We have put modalities in place to ensure that  Whatever limited us the last time that did not allow us to get to some of these locations on time has been eliminated.

    “We are aware of the letters, and we are doing something. We seriously going after those who perpetrated the crime,” he added. 

    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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