Update 2: Death toll now 150 with 500 wounded as of December 26.
Update: Death toll now 113 in Christmas Eve terror attack on sleeping Christian villagers, according to county Chairman Monday Kassah. Scattered gunfire heard by reporters as thousands evacuate Christmas Day.
Breaking: Fulani Terrorists strike Sleeping Villages in Plateau State on Christmas Eve
Death Toll at 70 as Citizen Guards Shoulder Pipe Guns
By Masara Kim
(Jos) At least 70 unarmed men, women and children have fallen to Fulani terrorists attacking at battalion strength in Central Plateau State since December 23, according to officials speaking to Truth Nigeria senior editor Masara Kim at the scene.
“At present , 70 are dead,” said Monday Kassah, Chairman of Bokkos County to TruthNigeria. Higher numbers of casualties are feared in a series of ongoing attacks targeting Christian villages in Plateau State, Nigeria. The attacks, believed to be driven by land grab and ethnic displacements, have forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes amidst intense gunfire by terrorists speaking the Fulani dialect, according to eyewitnesses.
Police and army authorities have yet to respond to inquiries from TruthNigeria, which published several advance warnings about a potential terror spike in the state leading up to Christmas.
The Fulani tribe, one of the largest in West Africa with around 10 million members in Nigeria, holds significant political influence in the country. However, militants associated with the group have faced accusations of genocidal massacres.
In the first half of 2023, Fulani-linked attacks resulted in the deaths of over 2500 Christians in Nigeria, according to Intersociety, an organization monitoring and documenting genocide in the country. Plateau State alone witnessed at least 500 of these deaths, reports Intersociety.
The latest violence commenced on December 23 in the eastern part of Bokkos county, where at least 16 people lost their lives in the village of Gwana, according to Kassah, the county chairman, speaking to TruthNigeria. The attack site is located just 5 miles from the county headquarters.
“We cannot say exactly why this attack was carried out but the victims are exclusively members of one ethnic group,” said Kassah in a phone interview with TruthNigeria.
“We have drafted securities to the area to help protect the surviving residents and unearth the truth of what happened,” said Kassah at about midday local time, two hours before the attacks spread to neighboring villages the following day leading to more deaths and house burnings according to escaping residents speaking to TruthNigeria.
The attack in Gwana started at 10 pm local time said a local Pastor, Rev. Danjuma Mandik to TruthNigeria. The majority of the residents according to him were in their homes sleeping amid low temperatures approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
“We had just finished our evening devotion when we heard gunshots,” said Mandik in a telephone interview.
“The entire village was instantly thrown into confusion with people running for their lives in different directions,” Mandik said.
“Those that fled escaped but those that remained in their houses were killed,” he said, adding the victims were members of a family.
The victims were members of the Mwagavul ethnicity, predominantly located in the adjacent Mangu county, as disclosed by Jethro Jacob, a tribal youth leader speaking to TruthNigeria.
The Mwagavul ethnic group, part of the Chadic language family and consisting of over 500,000 members, includes influential figures in Plateau State, such as Governor Mutfwang.
On May 16 and the days following, more than 350 Mwagavul members were killed by Fulani militants in Mangu. Over 80,000 others were displaced, according to town leaders. The attacks followed just two months after Mutfwang’s election as Governor, heightening concerns of ethnic targeting for political and religious dominance by the chiefly Fulani ethnic group. This apprehension was exacerbated by a prior call from a prominent Muslim cleric urging Muslims to vote against Mutfwang, citing religious and ethnic considerations.
Since October 18, an additional 50 residents of Mangu have been killed in the ongoing attacks, according to Jacob who told TruthNigeria the tribe in control of Gwana may have been singled out as part of the persisting ethnic persecution carried out by the Fulani.
“The same thing is what they are doing to other non-Muslim ethnic groups in the surrounding areas,” he said.
Fulani leaders could not be reached by phone for comments.
In a statement on December 24, Governor Caleb Mutfwang described the attack in Gwana as ‘unacceptable’, and expressed concern terrorists often escape Justice.
“[The Governor] questioned the impunity of the attackers who inflict harm on communities, destroy property, and evade justice,” wrote the Governor in a statement signed and shared with TruthNigeria by his Director of Press, Gyang Bere.
The Governor directed security agencies to “promptly apprehend the perpetrators responsible for the heinous acts and ensure they face the full force of the law,” the statement says.
Yet, two hours after the Governor’s statement at 2pm local time, terrorists resumed hostilities shooting and setting fire to houses in at least ten villages in the surrounding areas.
The attacks continuing to the morning of December 25 forced residents, including children, to flee on foot amid worsening weather. A TruthNigeria reporter, native to the area, shared that his mother slept in a dry stream, while his siblings joined 20 civilian volunteers to defend their village. By the morning of December 25, at least 20 people were confirmed killed, five in the reporter’s village Butura Kampani, with others still missing.
TruthNigeria reports that the hardest-hit villages on Christmas Eve include Makabat, Mbar, Tahore, Sanyang, Daress Mandar, Hurum, Danbukur, Maiyanga, NTV and Tudun Mazat. In these villages, numerous houses were burned, and residents were displaced. Officials have not yet commented on the recent attacks.
Source: Truth Nigeria