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Deadly Rampage: At Least 160 Killed in Nigeria Village Attacks

Published December 27, 2023
7 months ago

A somber air looms over central Nigeria in the aftermath of a string of violent attacks on villages, leaving at least 160 people dead—a toll dramatically higher than initial reports. Monday Kassah, an official in the Bokkos local government, confirmed the tragic escalation from the primary figure announced by the military of 16 casualties. This development points to the growing severity of the crisis that has haunted the region due to deep-seated religious and ethnic tensions.

The ruthless assaults were orchestrated by armed groups known locally as "bandits," unleashing terror in no fewer than 20 different communities throughout Plateau State's Bokkos and Barkin Ladi areas. Not only did they claim lives, but they also left over 300 individuals wounded and homes in ruins. The survivors who bore the brunt of these organized attacks were promptly transported to hospitals, receiving critical medical attention in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi.

A Red Cross count has tallied 104 fatalities spread across 18 villages in Bokkos alone, while state parliament member Dickson Chollom reported the demise of at least 50 people in various Barkin Ladi villages. These leaders have denounced the bloodshed and are calling for an immediate and robust response from security forces to this escalating threat.

The savagery of the attacks drew a strong condemnation from Plateau State governor Caleb Mutfwang, who decried the acts as "barbaric, brutal and unjustified.” His spokesperson, Gyang Bere, vowed that the government would take proactive steps to stem the tide of violence against innocent civilians.

Even as the state mourns, echoes of gunfire were reported late into Monday afternoon, underscoring the persistent danger in a region torn by the divide between Nigeria's northern and southern religious communities. Markus Amorudu shared his harrowing experience of the attack on Mushu village where assailants hunted their prey in the dark of night, leading to death and injury for many caught in the assault.

Human rights organization Amnesty International castigated Nigerian authorities for their persistent failure to halt the fatal assaults plaguing Plateau state's rural communities. Meanwhile, the onslaught from these "bandit militias" and the intensifying conflict over natural resources between herders and farmers, inflamed by climate change and population growth, has only further stoked the fires of violence.

Newly elected President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, tasked with addressing Nigeria's dire security challenges, has pledged to draw more investment into the nation. The escalating conflict, however, underscores the enormity of the task before him as he seeks to bring stability to Africa's most populous nation and largest economy.

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