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CONTINUED ATTACKS AND BLOODLETTING BY FULANI TERRORISTS IN BOKKOS LOCAL GOVERNMENT

From: Bokkos Cultural Development Council (BCDC) Vanguard

Preamble:

For over a decade, the people of Bokkos Local Government in Plateau State have endured brutal and premeditated attacks by foreign terrorists seeking to annihilate our communities and seize our lands. These relentless assaults have resulted in hundreds of deaths, thousands of displacements, and widespread destruction of homes, vehicles, farms, and food stores.

In the history of Plateau State, there has never been any attack or unrest initiated by the indigenous peoples and other Christian settlers in the state. All the attacks from the very first that disrupted the peace of Plateau State till date have been by Islamic fundamentalists and against the peace-loving people who are still denied any form of justice, closure, or normalcy.

We are aware there is a campaign by the Fulani militia and their supporters in government to tarnish the reputation and image of the people of Bokkos and other parts of the state, an example is a mischievous letter circulating the internet purportedly from the office of the DSS, defamatorily cyber-bullying the character and the people of Bokkos and other indigenous groups in an attempt to disturb the peace and incite unrest.

Latest Assault:

Most recently, on April 2, at least eight of our people were killed in separate attacks in NNjukudel and Butura Wur villages, both situated near the local government headquarters. These assaults, occurring during Easter celebrations, occurred while our predominantly Christian communities were still reeling from the devastating attacks last Christmas, which claimed over 200 lives.

Motivation:

This advocacy aims to stand against these incidents which confirm the religious cleansing and land-grabbing agenda of the terrorists, who aim to establish a caliphate governed by extreme Islamic ideology.

Ongoing Displacements and Destructions:

Currently, more than 19,000 of our people endure dire living conditions in eleven makeshift IDP camps in Bokkos town alone, while thousands more seek refuge with relatives within and outside the local government. Despite this humanitarian crisis, the terrorists continue to wreak havoc on surviving communities, carrying out daily attacks and killings. In some displaced areas, they have established camps and seized farmlands, freely grazing on crops despite the presence of a significant military force.

Our Declaration:

As the youth of Bokkos, represented by the Bokkos Cultural Development Council (BCDC) Vanguard, we declare that enough is enough. We will not tolerate further attacks or provocations against our people. We demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and senseless crimes, as well as swift investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators, many of whom have been apprehended and identified.

It is disheartening that despite ongoing crimes, government security forces have failed to protect and reassure the people of their safety. On the night of the recent attacks in Butura Wur and NNjukudel, advance notices were received, including from the police, yet no action was taken, resulting in the loss of eight lives. Furthermore, the release of a Fulani militant who led an armed attack in Kuba village exacerbates our fear and exposes the community to further retaliation.

We demand prompt and decisive action from security forces to address escalating crimes that threaten not only our communities’ survival but their very existence.

Who We Are:

The BCDC Vanguard is an arm of the Bokkos Cultural Development Council (BCDC), which is a coalition of the Ron, Mushere and Kulere Development Associations. The BCDC Vanguard is made up of young professionals and rights activists from Bokkos. Our mission – among others, is to advance the social and cultural well-being of our communities and ensure the rights and safety of all residents, regardless of their background.

In light of recent events, we have united to safeguard our communities from violence and land grabs. We stand as a formidable team of diverse youth, united against bloodshed and territorial encroachment in Bokkos. We are prepared to take legal action to protect our land and people, without fear or favour.

This is a call to action and a warning against inaction. We are weary of burying our children, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We are tired of abandoning our homes, loading our belongings onto trucks, and fleeing from our own land. This time, we are determined to end it.

It is documented that in the past 11 years of senseless violence against our people, we have mourned the loss of at least 1000 lives in Bokkos. Over 30 of our communities have been seized and turned into no-go zones for our people. Additionally, we have lost thousands of acres of crops to the destructive grazing of cattle by these land grabbers.

None of these crimes or criminals have been prosecuted!

For instance, the assassination of Lazarus Agai, our paramount ruler, the chief custodian of our cultural heritage, in July 2016, remains unresolved. The murders of over 25 individuals in Mangor and Fakos in April 2013, and later five people in Mai Hakorin Gold on New Year’s Eve of the same year, as well as the killing of nine people in Mbar in September 2015, are still awaiting justice. Similarly, the murders of ten people in Daffo in January 2018, followed by a relapse in March 2018 with over 30 casualties, the massacre of 26 people in Kwatas in February 2020, and the slaughter of over 40 individuals in Maikatako, Folloh, and Wumat villages in November 2022, as well as the massacre of over 200 people during last Christmas, remain unsolved. This is not to mention the numerous isolated killings and sexual assaults that persist to this day. Following the horrific murders last Christmas, the terrorists continued their brutal campaign with the massacre of over 50 people in Mbar, Chikam, Butura Kampani, Butura Gida, and Tangur villages in January and February.

While we awaited the fulfilment of government promises to investigate and prosecute these crimes, we suffered a relapse on April 2, with the killing of seven promising Youth.

We want to highlight that the cyber-bullying and ongoing violence aims to intimidate our predominantly farming communities ahead of the upcoming rainy season, with the goal of further land grab and control over our communities. This is something we refuse to allow.

Our Demands:

• We demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and all forms of violations, including trespassing into crop farms, rape of our women and daughters, as well as verbal or physical threats by the Fulani terrorists. Any further provocation will leave us no option but to retaliate in self-defense, which is our constitutional right. Our past silence and apparent inaction were never signs of weakness, but deliberate acts intended to allow the law to take its course. From now on, any attack on our people will be considered a declaration of war. By this address, we declare our readiness to explore every legal option to safeguard our communities.

• We demand the designation of Fulani militants as terrorists. Their repeated barbaric attacks, which include the brutal killing and injuring of innocent children and pregnant women, along with the destruction of churches, schools, and hospitals are nothing short of terrorism. This they do with the sole aim of eradicating Christian communities and grabbing our land to advance extreme Islamic ideologies. Even nominal Muslims and Fulani members who identify as Christians are not spared by these jihadists, regardless of their occupation. How is this deliberate targeting of a particular group a clash when it chiefly occurs in the thick of the night when residents are sleeping?

• We reject the false narrative that portrays these attacks as mere “Farmer-Herder Clashes/Conflict” or as being influenced by climate change. We firmly believe that accurately diagnosing and identifying the problem is crucial to finding effective and legitimate solutions. The honest representation of the problem is “An Invasion of Plateau State and Land Grabbing by Fulani Immigrants/Militia”.

• We demand a thorough investigation into all attacks in Bokkos and the prosecution of perpetrators. Justice must be served to hold accountable those responsible for these heinous crimes.

• We demand eviction of Fulani land-grabbers currently settling in our communities the Fulani terrorists have displaced.

• We demand an end to open grazing and the immediate recovery of all seized lands, along with the prosecution of the culprits.

• We call for prioritizing the protection and assistance of vulnerable populations, including women, children, the elderly, and internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are at risk in conflict-affected areas.

• We demand a retraction of the message by the DSS making rounds on social media and a public apology made on all social, radio, TV, and print media or we will be forced to take an action in court for defamation of character, cyber-bullying, and damages this disgraceful smear campaign against our public image and integrity has caused.

• We urge the Plateau State Government, security agencies, and humanitarian organizations to intervene to provide humanitarian and security aid to Bokkos residents currently displaced, as well as protect of those in their communities. We commend the recent arrest of a Fulani militant who threatened some of our people in Hurum who were attempting to rebuild their houses destroyed during the Christmas attacks, as well as the establishment of a resettlement Council by the Plateau state government. We believe that swift action is necessary to restore peace and prevent further bloodshed.

Conclusion:

The Fulani have for decades been allowed to hide their agenda of genocide behind the excuse of reprisal for cattle rustling. We state vehemently – and hope the government will henceforth clearly show that human lives can never be equated with animals and anyone who purports to do same be apprehended as being privy to the attacks and an accessory to the gruesome murders, destruction of property, land grabs and all the other crimes committed on Bokkos LGA and other parts of the State.

The killings and land grabs by Fulani militia in Bokkos are unacceptable violations of human rights. We demand immediate action to protect our people and ensure justice and accountability. The people of Bokkos deserve peace, security, and the opportunity to rebuild their lives free from fear and violence.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter!  We trust that you will take the necessary actions to address our concerns and uphold the rights of all citizens in Plateau State.

Signed

Barr. Farmasum Fuddang
Chairman, BCDC Vanguard

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