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HomeBreakingBokkos Terror Attacks on the Plateau: It is Time for Decisive Action!!!

Bokkos Terror Attacks on the Plateau: It is Time for Decisive Action!!!

A Press Statement by The Revd Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam President and CEO

Chriang Village: a 9 – year-old primary school boy, Regard Yusuf, was tricked into leading the attackers to his mother’s hideout, along with other women on Christmas Eve December 24th 2023, during the well-coordinated attacks in Mangur, Bokkos, Plateau State. Consequently, 23 women including the 9-year-old boy and his mother were slaughtered. Veronica Mallan and 9-month-old Godwin Mallan were among those killed. The murderers lied to the boy that he would not be killed but did the exact opposite, sending him to an early grave. A 9-year-old boy and a 9-month-old baby: two young promising lives were among the 160 people killed by the forces of terrorism and wickedness. Only one woman who fell into a ditch while fleeing was left to tell the story.

Tahore village: Hon. Sabo Abang was captured on the night of 24th December and held hostage during the attacks. 3 days later, he was slaughtered like a ram and his fresh dead body dumped near his home on 27th December.

JUTH: Jos University Teaching Hospital, there lies critically ill, a three (3) year old- child was shot at close range during the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day attack. Still in JUTH, lies a 5-year-old girl whose hand was chopped off by the attackers.

The Para-Mallam Peace Foundation wishes to use the opportunity of releasing this statement to express our deepest condolences to the entire people of Bokkos Local Government Area, peace-loving Governor HE Barr Caleb Mutfwang and people of Plateau State and Nigerians.

A terrible genocide is taking place in Plateau State but it is being window dressed to look like a clash between Farmers and Herders. What we have is a deadly situation in which Armed Fulani herdsmen described sometimes as Bandits but in a real sense, terrorists who attack other ethnic nationalities in some parts of the State and in most Middlebelt communities. Sadly, a false and misleading narratives are created while rivers of blood continue to flow. This is a disservice to the Nigerian nation and humanity. What happened in Bokkos is neither a clash nor retaliatory attacks. It is deliberate, targeted, intentional and systematic elimination of whole populations as the pattern has been in some of the Middlebelt communities. Sadly, such killings are disguised and those who firmly should have long taken actions to end this are doing nothing or steps so far taken are not yielding the desired results: Arrest the perpetuators, end the killings and promote sustainable peace are proactive steps so urgently needed NOW. Similar mass and unjustified killings must be brought to an end and ONLY the Federal Government has the constitutional right and authority to bring this about. What happened in Bokkos appears clearly motivated by genocidal intent, land grabbing and occupation by conquest. Should the Plateau State government continue to lament and watch on in helplessness? Should the Federal Government of Nigeria reduce itself to an entity which only issues condolence Press Statements with no tangible results while the carnage continues and the aggressors are never found or prosecuted until another round of similar horrible genocidal attacks take place?

The audacity of wickedness: While the Presidential Team were visiting to condole the people of Bokkos on December 27th, led by the Vice President HE Shettima, National Security Adviser,

Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa and Chief of Defence Intelligence, accompanied by The Executive Governor of Plateau State, HE Barr Caleb Muftwang, Former Governors Joshua Dariye, Senator Simon Bako Lalong, the GOC/STF Major General Abubakar, Police Commissioner Mr Okoro Alawari, two (2) villages were attacked namely: Dun and Bodel and several houses were burnt down.

What is happening on the Plateau is a recurring decimal and cycle of violence which when viewed from the law of proportionality is one-sided. From Dogo Nahawa (2010), Riyom (February 3rd 2014), Barakin Ladi (2018), Miango (2020), Mangu (2023 and now Bokkos (Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (2023). What is wrong with our nation? Why have we ended up with leaders who overlook blatant criminality and engender a system that discourages freedom of religion and belief? Why does the international community remain silent while crimes against humanity are committed with reckless abandoned in Nigeria? Why have Nigerians not united in their condemnation and concerted action to end the terrorism that is going on in the Middlebelt Savannah region of Nigeria? Why does the global community constantly engage in looking the other way when innocent women and children are being massacred; yet the perpetuators are not called out and prosecuted and the government is yet to take real decisive steps to end the carnage?

The Presidency should not allow itself to be deceived into believing that what is happening in Plateau is a tit for tat situation. It is NOT! To believe so means following a misleading narrative-decoy which will lead to no peaceful solution that is rooted in truth and social justice. Those who defend their families, homes and communities, must not be labelled as engaging in tit-for-tat reprisals. Self-defence is a right upheld by constitutions around the world. The people of Bokkos tried to defend their towns but they were overwhelmed by a fighting force who came bent on carrying out a genocidal mission. The sophisticated weaponry used should concern our government. How come such deadly arms are allowed into the hands of these killers who continue to kill with such reckless abandon?

According to available facts and statistics provided by Mr. Philip Sati Julson, National President, Butura Development Association and Chairman, Bokkos LGA Association of Chairmen of Community Development which was further collaborated by Hon. Monday Kassah, Transition Chairman of Bokkos LGA, the following is a breakdown of people killed directly from the scenes of attacks in Districts: Butura – 32, one (1) person still missing. Mbar – 29, Mangor – 44 with 50 injured and three (3) people still missing. Mazat -10 (the same Ron people but located in Barkin Ladi LGA. Bokkos – 29, Tangur – 6, Mushere – 2. The total number of people massacred in cold blood so far on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are now about 160 and they are still counting. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are estimated to be about 5,000. Eight Churches were burnt down: Baptist, Dares, CAC, Mbomg, COCIN, Maiyanga, COCIN, Ndun, COCIN, Tahore, CAC, Longhair, COCIN, Ngha-buk and COCIN Church Hurum. All the Eight Pastorium were burnt down. Two Pastors: Baptist and Assemblies of God.

A breakdown so far shows that 37 Women, 10 Children, 3 physically challenged persons were burnt in their homes as they were unable to run and 110 men were killed. A total of of 25 Villages were attacked in a well-coordinated military style assault. The breakdown of the villages according to districts are as follow: Butura – 4, Mbar – 5, Tangur – 4, Bokkos – 6, Mushere – 1, Mangor – 4 and Mazat – 1. Total Vehicles cars and buses destroyed – 8, Motorcycles destroyed – 27 and 2 were stolen by the attackers. The total number of houses burnt is about (three hundred and one –301).

However, it would be an error to rashly conclude that the military is did nothing. That would be a statement made in emotive anger, without consideration of the facts on the situation in Bokkos. Had the military not stepped in the number of deaths would have been in their thousands. However, in

both strategic and tactics, the military should be proactive rather than preventive. The current approach by the military is reactive as they tend to respond when the damage has already been done. This military damage control approach strategy cannot bring about the progress Nigerians desire to see in bringing an end to the killings. Unfortunately, we have now ended up with a black Christmas. Without doubt, the zeal with which the military acted swiftly to de-escalate the violence and killings in Mangu LGA, needs to be sustained. This same urgency needs to be extended to Bokkos in order to swiftly curb the present genocide in Bokkos. The cross-border killings spilling over to Barakin Ladi and Mangu LGAs needs to be stopped as both have had their share of violent attacks in the past.

Sometimes in 2019, during an attack in Waren village in Barkin Ladi LGA by Armed Fulani Herdsmen. They had threatened that a time would come when Christians would not be allowed to celebrate Christmas. They suggested that Christians will be running with their Christmas meat in their hands and will enjoy no peace in eating such meat. Could the current case be evidence of them making good on their threat? This needs to be fully and dispassionately investigated in the search towards sustainable peace and justice as key solutions in bringing an end to this senseless carnage. The Middlebelt is bleeding. Can there be a Nigeria without the Middlebelt? Why is the Middlebelt being turned into Nigeria’s killing fields? If truth be told, Nigeria can’t exist without the Middlebelt. Criminal elements seek to plunge us into darkness using religion in a disguise way. They must be stopped. Today, Nigerians are mourning the senseless Christmas Eve and Christmas Day killings in Bokkos. Nigerians are united in grief: North, South, East, West. Could Bokkos serve as a turning point which could allow the forces of peace overcome the forces of darkness in Nigeria? Our Peace Foundation remains hopeful that peace is possible not only in Plateau State but Nigeria. If the world is interested in ending the killings in Nigeria, let the sad and unprovoked attacks on innocent lives in Bokkos, on Christmas Day, serve to arouse the conscience of the nation and the world to unite and save lives.

Stop Press: As this Statement was about being released, Mr President sent a powerful Presidential Team to Bokkos, led by Vice President HE Kashim Shettima. After addressing the people in Bokkos, The Vice-President and team, along with the Governor of Plateau State, HE Barr Caleb Muftwang, supported by Former Governors and Senators Simon Bako Lalong, Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye and other invited Stakeholders met in Heipang, Jos, where the VP conveyed the condolences of Mr. President to the people of Plateau State and a passionate plea for peace was made. The Governor spoke on his determination and commitment to partner with Mr President to end the killings in Plateau State. The NSA, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, said: Enough is Enough on these killings and the resounding response from the attendees echoed their approval. As an invitee to the Stakeholders meeting, The Para-Mallam Peace Foundation prays that Bokkos would be the last of such senseless killings. The commitment to end such and the search for peace on the Plateau needs to be collective and sustained. Let the journey begin; not only for peace BUT also ending the killings in the State. Politicizing the killings leads us nowhere. But finding the political will as declared by the Governor of Plateau State, to end the killings is the way to go! Positive action leads us somewhere and that destination is peace not only in Plateau State the home of Peace and Tourism but also in Nigeria.

The Revd Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam President and CEO (https://para-mallampeacefoundation.org)

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