weeks after a massive attack in Nigeria that killed 500 Christians, Muslim
Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday unleashed more horrific violence on two Christian villages
in Plateau state, killing 13 people, including a pregnant woman and
In attacks presumably
over disputed property but with a level of violence characteristic of jihadist
method and motive, men in military camouflage and others in customary clothing
also burned 20 houses in Byei and Baten villages, in the Riyom Local Government
Area of the state, about 29 miles from the state capital, Jos.
neighboring villages are living in fear of possible attacks by the herdsmen, who
have not been deterred by the joint military and police security team enforcing
curfew in the state. The ethnic Berom Christians, who live as farmers, have long
faced off with Fulani nomads who graze their cattle on the Beroms’ land.
The slaughter comes
after a similar attack on March 7 on Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Rastat, three villages
in Jos South and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas where hundreds of villagers were struck
with machetes and burned to death.
“The assailants armed
with dangerous weapons attacked the two communities simultaneously at about 1
a.m. on Wednesday, March 17,” Brig. Gen. Donald Oji said in a press statement,
adding that timely deployment of troops averted further carnage. “Seven of the
assailants have been arrested, while troops are still on the trail of more of
them. Items recovered from the assailants include three locally made short guns
with cartridges, bow and arrows, machetes, knives and cutlasses.”
State Gov. Jonah Jang
condemned the killings, alleging that some unnamed persons were fueling
misunderstanding among communities in conflict. Because the style of killing is
typical of jihadist fundamentalists, Christian leaders suspect Islamic
extremists are encouraging the attacks, throwing religious gas on low-burning
land and ethnic conflicts.
Mandung, a survivor of the attack whose 90-year-old mother, Ngo Hwo Dongo, was
killed in her room, told newsmen that the villagers were awakened by gunshots
from the Muslim herdsmen who were barricading their houses. Mandung, however,
distinguished the assailants in military fatigues from the Fulani
“We saw them in
military uniforms, about two of them were in military uniform and the Fulani
were in their normal clothes,” Mandun reportedly said. “My mother was the only
one killed in the family.”
survivor, Kachollom Pam Dauda, who is pregnant, told Nigerian media that she was
lucky to have escaped the killers. She also described the men in military
uniform as distinct from the herders, saying, “The killers came and first shot,
and the Fulani were machete-ing people.”
“I climbed the roof of
the house and held to the wood,” she reportedly said. “It was painful more so
that I am pregnant. I saw the killers kill my two sisters-in-law, Chundung and
Kangyang – they could not escape. I saw as they were being butchered and slain.”
Dauda said she dared
not make any movement that would attract the attention of the killers.
“After they killed my
sisters-in-law, they sat at the back of our house and were saying they would
still come back in two days to finish us in the village,” she reportedly said.
“I saw two soldiers. They were speaking English and were saying, “Come let’s
go.’ The Fulanis were more than 20 in number. When they left, my husband’s
uncle, Yohanna, came crying saying, ‘They have killed people in the next
the March 7 attack, the ethnic Berom victims also included many women and
children killed with machetes by rampaging Fulani herdsmen. About 75 houses were
burned. State Information Commissioner Gregory Yenlong confirmed that about 500
persons were killed in the attacks.
Christian leaders said that in the March 7 attack, eyewitnesses said
the Fulani Muslims were chanting “Allah Akbar” as
they broke into homes and slashed men, women and children.
Gov. Jang said word of the new attacks challenged
everyone’s strength to endure.
“It gets to a stage
when one remains strong, but when you receive the news of fresh attacks, you get
broken before you recover again,” he said. “I have total faith in God because I
am a child of God; and because I know there is nothing that happens that God is
not aware particularly when it happens to His children. I have talked to God
that whatever sin we have committed on the Plateau He should have mercy on