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Education Leader Calls for Arrest of Herd Bosses after Wanton Murder in Plateau State

Video of mourners during funeral service for slain Christian couple.

Community leader calls for arrests of tribal bosses

JOS—A Community leader in central Nigeria berated local authorities for allowing killers to go free after the murder of a young couple at a high school in Plateau State.

“People move on freely and kill freely and go freely!” shouted Gyang Dudu Dalyop, the President of the Berom Cultural and Educational Organization (BECO),  owners of the BECO Comprehensive High School at a packed funeral in Kwi, a town in Riyom County, on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The tribal leader called for the arrest of the Fulani tribe bosses called “ardos”, in order for them to be interrogated. “Why are the ardos free? They should be arrested until they produce the murderers,” Gyang shouted.

In a heart-wrenching ceremony that brought the community of Kwi to a standstill, a solemn funeral and interment was held August 23 for a young Christian couple, Barnabas Danladi and Sandra Danladi, both of whom were teachers at the school. Both were gunned down without explanation by cow herders on August 14th.

The popular local couple exchanged vows just five months ago. The attack in the BECO Comprehensive High School, located 15 miles southwest of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, reportedly saw armed terrorists disguised as cattle herders, opening fire on the school premises after driving a herd of cattle onto the campus. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/08/herdsmen-kill-2-teachers-injure-2-others-in-plateau-school/

Eyewitnesses told TruthNigeria that Barnabas, 31, in a desperate attempt to reach his wounded wife, Sandra, 24, was fatally shot as he ran out of hiding.

Sandra, already critically wounded, was taking her last breaths. Two other residents were injured in the attack.

On the somber morning of August 23rd, thousands of Christian residents gathered in Kwi to pay their final respects. TruthNigeria witnessed as the air was filled with the sounds of wailing and gospel songs, reflecting the profound sorrow that had enveloped the community.

The couple’s murder serves as a stark reminder of the enduring terror threats faced by communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region.

Suspects Arrested

Nigerian Army authorities in Plateau State said they have arrested five suspects in connection to the murder.

“As I am talking to you I have five people arrested in the cell,” said Lt. Col. O.S. Fagbemi, the Commander of the Special Task Force Operation Safe Haven Sector 6 in Riyom.

“As I am talking to you we lost a policeman yesterday in the cause of seeking justice for these two,” said Fagbemi at the funeral in Kwi.

The news failed to calm the heartbroken villagers who had been disappointed by such promises in the past.

“Until justice is served, we will not accept it. This is too much. Just three weeks ago, 21 people were killed. One week after, these young people who had a bubbling life, and a dream to live their lives were snuffed and killed. We refuse to accept,” shouted Dalyop.

“We know that people have been arrested, but those are not the culprits,” said a former commissioner in Plateau State, Davou Mang. “We want the right thing to be done,” said Mang, a native of Kwi. “We want to be carried along on every stage of the investigation so we can see and verify,” he said.

The Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, has sided with the grieving villagers. “I know there are many communities where in defending themselves, their leaders were arrested,” said Mutfwang through his commissioner of finance, Kachollom Gang. “People were at work, and they were attacked without any provocation,” said Mutfwang. “This is unacceptable,” he said, expressing regret that many previous arrests were not followed with successful prosecutions.

According to media reports, two herdsmen drove their cattle onto the campus of the school to graze but were confronted by two unarmed security employees. When the teachers came out of a staff meeting  to engage the herders, two of them brought out their guns and fired at the teachers.  Strict gun control laws prohibit private citizens to carry firearms, yet cattle herders are rarely prosecuted for carrying assault rifles, according to sources who spoke to TruthNigeria.

The Vice-Principal, Mr. Dalyop Emanuel Ibrahim, was critically wounded and is begin treated at the  Jos University Teaching Hospital.

The President of the Berom Youth Moulders, BYM, Solomon Dalyop, condemned the unprovoked attack and said it was linked to armed invasions of several counties in mid Plateau State that have been under general attack since May 16, 2023.  

2,500 Murders by Terrorists in 2023

More than 2,500 unarmed citizens of the rural areas of the Middle Belt in Nigeria have been murdered in ethnic-cleansing attacks since the beginning of 2023, according to Intersociety, a crime tracking nonprofit.

More than 20 percent of the killings were reported  in Plateau State, according to Intersociety.

The attacks in Riyom County have seen terrorists taking over more than 50 villages in recent years, according to State Assemblyman Timothy Dantong.

“Even my hometown has been taken over,” said Dantong, who represents Riyom at the Plateau State Legislature. “For over ten years now I have not been able to get access to that community, and none of my fellow residents are presently living there,” said Dantong at the funeral in Kwi. “The Fulani have taken over that community, have built their houses and are enjoying their freedom,” Dantong said, alleging that the terrorists,  who are chiefly migrants, seek to settle an area that will host a prominent international cargo airport.

“They are moving from Mahanga and this [Kwi] is the next community they want to takeover, so that they will have control of the airport,” he said.

Mahanga, a hilltop town 35miles southwest of Jos was seized in an attack by a swam of terrorists on September 11, 2001. The grim murder of more than 200 residents coincided with the massacre of close to 3,000 people in a terrorist attack in the United States on the same day. Residents tell TruthNigeria the community has since then served as a staging ground for terror attacks in the surrounding areas, including Kwi, which borders the Yakubu Gowon International Airport Jos located 1 mile away.

Masara Kim is an award-winning conflict reporter in Plateau State and the senior editor of TruthNigeria.com.

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