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Despite Losses To Terrorists, Nigerian Citizen Guards stand Firm

JOS–In the face of relentless attacks by terrorists and the harrowing threats posed by the Nigerian military itself, Nigerian citizen guards in Plateau State are demonstrating a remarkable display of unwavering bravery, according to Kyle Abts, executive director of the International Committee on Nigeria. “There is no doubt the citizen guards are saving lives in Plateau,” Abts told Truth Nigeria. 

Abts points to the crucial role of volunteer citizen guards, dubbed “vigilantes,” in many states of Nigeria “Vigilante groups in Nigeria have been around for many years and exist to help defend specific communities,” Abts, wrote to Truth Nigeria in a text message.  “They were originally unarmed and stopped common crimes, social violence, and arrested suspected criminals and handed them to police. However, over time with the increased weapons of terrorists, militants, criminals, and bandits they needed to carry weapons – often locally made single shot 12-gauge type. They are officially recognized by the Nigerian government and work with the security forces to protect their communities,” Abts said.

Undeterred by the tragic loss of comrades and the constant presence of danger, these courageous self-defense volunteers have taken it upon themselves to protect their communities, risking their lives to resist terrorists aiming to take their lands according to lawmakers and town leaders speaking to Truth Nigeria.

As of 21 July, more than 30 villages south of Jos the State capital are at the risk of terrorists’ attacks according to credible intelligence obtained by Truth Nigeria

This “mother of armed invasions” according to TN sources is expected to see mercenaries from terror-besieged northwest of Nigeria joining forces with local militias who identify as members of the Fulani ethnicity to launch mass attacks starting July 22.

The Fulani tribe are a chiefly Muslim group found across West Africa. The Fulani tribe claim as many as 10 million members in Nigeria, and they include myriad leaders in government, academia and business. However, a subgroup of militant extremists within this tribe have been blamed for three times more Christian deaths than caused by the insurgency known as Boko Haram (Western Learning Forbidden) or the Islamic State of West Africa.

Fulani militants killed more than 2,500 Nigerian Christians in the first half of 2023 according to Intersociety, an international genocide-watch group. More than 20 percent of these killings were recorded in Plateau State, Intersociety reports.

Map courtesy of Stefanos Foundation
Map courtesy of Stefanos Foundation

The latest attacks –which targeted two villages 25 miles southwest of Jos on 19 — July were bravely resisted by citizen guards armed with homemade single-shot guns and hunting rifles. For several minutes, the small groups of 20 to 30 volunteers relentlessly held off an early-morning invasion by a band of 200 to 300 terrorists armed with assault rifles before the military arrived, according to town leaders speaking to Truth Nigeria.

“They [terrorists] started from Gwarim village of Rim district in Riyom [county] around 7am and later moved to neighboring Gwon village after they were repelled from Gwarim,” said lawyer Solomon Dalyop, a tribal leader in Jos. “Their attempt to invade Gwon was also fiercely resisted and they had to retreat without causing any damage,” Dalyop told Truth Nigeria.

Solomon Dalyop speaks. Photo by Masara Kim.
Solomon Dalyop speaks. Photo by Masara Kim.

However, a previous attempt in nearby Wereng village the previous day led to the death of two vigilantes, Dalyop said. According to him, a sudden terrorists fire killed the two volunteers as they stood guard on the western edge of the town at about 8 pm local time. A swift response by other members of the guard team forced the attackers into an early retreat, Dalyop said, crediting their success to an advance Security Alert distributed in the communities and shared only by Truth Nigeria.

“After the security alerts circulated, the locals were out keeping watch and that has helped in reducing casualties,” Dalyop said. A previous alert on 16 July saw two villages invaded the following day in Riyom, but only one resident was killed, Dalyop added. The victim, a middle-aged man, was shot when he took a walk to his farm outside his village of Jol, several meters from vigilantes’ base, according to Dalyop.

Masara Kim is an award winning conflict reporter based in Jos. He has been a contributor to documentaries by Fox News and Epoch Times TV.

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