By Masara Kim
As U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken was preparing to meet with Nigerian officials in Abuja on January 23, militants shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ burned alive a Nigerian college graduate, Miss Beatrice Ringmechit Dauda along with five family members in Plateau state.
Blinken’s visit to Africa’s most populous country with 90% of Christians killed for their faith worldwide is his third overseas mission of 2024.
The visit according to a statement by the State Department’s spokesman, Matthew Miller aimed to among others “advance security partnerships based on shared values such as respect for human rights, promotion of democracy, and expansion of the rule of law.”
It comes on the heals of widespread jihadist raids that had killed over 295 Christians in Plateau state since Christmas Eve according to monitoring groups. The latest is a waive of ongoing violence 42 miles southeast of the capital city of Jos, which began on the night of Blinken’s arrival to Nigeria on January 23.
A top official reports dozens of Christians have been killed in the violence which still persists.
Among the victims were Dauda and her family who were trapped in their home by dozens of armed militants swarming over their village of Sabon Kasuwa located in the north of the Mangu county. Witnesses say the assailants who struggled to break door locks set fire to the house, incinerating their victims with it.
Several other residents were killed in the sunrise attack which started from a nearby village the previous night according to a local Pastor, Bulus Daset.
“As I am speaking to you, Mangu is on fire,” said the Pastor in a telephone interview with TruthNigeria.
“It started from yesterday in the night when Fulani militants attacked some of our youths in a village called Alogom,” said Pastor Bulus. “This morning they went again and attacked a roadside village called Sabon Gari. When our youths mobilized to respond to the situation, they launched another attack in Sabon Kasuwa burning many houses and a Church,” said Bulus.
The escalating situation compelled Governor Caleb Mutfwang to impose a 24-hour curfew on Mangu by the moon of January 23. The move aimed at effectively managing the situation according to a press statement by Gyang Bere, the Press Director to Governor Mutfwang.
“Governor Mutfwang took the decision after consultations with the relevant security agencies,” says the statement shared with TruthNigeria.
Hours after the declaration, TruthNigeria witnessed a military helicopter flying in the direction of Mangu. Yet, violence continued through the day and night, leading to dozens of casualties according to a top government official.
This happened despite a security alert by TruthNigeria revealing the mass movement of armed militants on motorcycles in the direction of Mangu.
“The casualty is high,” said the official on background. “Both Christians and Muslims have casualties,” said the official in a telephone call.
TruthNigeria reported how the situation was potentially degenerating to a religious war, citing violent reactions to the previous night’s attacks in some communities which were bravely neutralized by pipe gun-firing self-defense volunteers.
Yet, Secretary Blinken in a meeting with President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on January 23 made no mention of the ongoing persecutions in the country’s north. His comments focused on trade relations and climate change, ignoring earlier concerns raised by a human rights group prior to his visit which accused him and the Biden administration of complicity with terrorists in Nigeria.
Masara Kim is a prize winning conflict reporter in Jos and Senior Editor of TruthNigeria.