Attacks blamed on Islamic terrorists
JOS—Indigenous Christian farmers in Plateau State, Nigeria, face a grim choice: stay home and starve, or risk farming and dying, amidst a lush forest savannah.
Just yesterday, two women were shot dead while returning from their farm 30 miles southwest of Jos, in central Nigeria’s Plateau State. The tragic incident happened shortly before sunset on July 10. This attack in the eastern part of Riyom county happened only hours after the burial of eight residents, who were killed the previous day, in a nearby village just 5 miles away.
These victims are the latest casualties in a string of assaults on local Christian villages that have claimed at least 35 lives since Truth Nigeria issued an early warning of impending attacks in the region on July 4. Within hours of the alert being published, one person was killed in western Riyom County, and in the following days, more victims fell in the surrounding areas. These accounts were reported to Truth Nigeria by witnesses of the attacks.
The attacks are attributed to Islamic terrorists, members of the Fulani ethnicity. The violence has been ongoing in the region since May 16, taking the lives of over 350 residents, according to international monitoring group Intersociety.
The Fulani, one of Africa’s largest tribes, known for their cattle-herding skills, claim up to 10 million members in Nigeria. A radicalized faction of the Fulani people has been accused of killing three times more Christians than the insurgency known as Boko Haram in recent years. According to Intersociety, this year alone, Fulani militants have jointly killed more than 2,500 Nigerian Christians, including at least 500 in Plateau State.
The reason for the continual assaults? The attacks in Mangu are primarily aimed at land seizure and ethnic displacements, says Plateau State legislator Bala Fwanje, who also accuses the military of indifference. “More than 50 of our communities in Mangu County have been displaced in the past two months. Our people can no longer go to their farms or homes, and yet nothing is being done,” he told Truth Nigeria.
Warnings of impending attacks have largely been ignored by Operation Safe Haven, a sizable military task force stationed throughout the state.
The two women slain on July 10 were in their mid-40s, according to local community leader and attorney, Dalyop Solomon. They were gunned down by terrorists hiding behind tall trees, near their village of Rim, Solomon said.
Newly elected Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, imposed a 24-hour curfew on nearby Mangu County to stem the tide of attacks that have claimed over 200 lives since May 16. However, within hours, eight people, including an infant, were murdered on the western outskirts of Jos. This incident followed a morning shooting in southern Riyom County, where a neighborhood watch group member was killed while the remaining 200 residents of Rinyan village attended church service.
The ambush site in Turu has been a scene of protests against perceived military complicity. Witnesses told Truth Nigeria that six armed men in military uniforms opened fire at a convoy of three motorcycles, killing all eight people on board, including a seven-month-old baby. The 9 pm attack occurred on the western edge of Turu, a community of 200 brick houses located 15 miles southwest of Jos, along a highway leading to the capital city of Abuja.
Military authorities in Jos have remained silent, refusing to respond to queries from Truth Nigeria. However, Turu has witnessed mass protests in recent years, led by local women against military collusion with terrorists.
On April 24, hundreds of women banged on the doors of three military vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, demanding that the soldiers leave the area. This demonstration followed the murder of six local youths at a tin-mining camp outside the town, just hours after an early warning of an attack was relayed to a nearby military base.
Plateau State Assemblyman, Timothy Dantong, stated to Truth Nigeria, “We’re not questioning our military’s ability, but it seems they lack the efficiency to prevent terrorists from killing and capturing communities. It looks like the Fulani have raised militias stronger than the Nigerian military because, even when they are linked to an attack, nothing is done.”
The ongoing violence has sparked outrage among Nigerian Americans who are demanding international intervention.
Ms. Felicia Sodipe, who leads a local Berom community in the United States, is among those demanding action. “The continual loss of lives and property is unacceptable, with our government failing to provide adequate security,” she wrote in a message to Truth Nigeria. She implores the U.S. government and the international community to apply pressure on the Nigerian Government to uphold basic human rights and ensure the safety of all citizens. “Enough is enough,” she concluded.