Nigeria: 12 Killed in Plateau state as cattle thieves clash with youths

By James Abraham, Jos

Gunmen who were fleeing after stealing some cows in the Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State have killed 12 people in the neighbouring Mangu Local Government Area of the state.

Our correspondent gathered on Thursday that the incident happened on Wednesday night.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Plateau State, Mr Mathias Tyopev, who confirmed the incident, told our correspondent in Jos on Thursday that the Commissioner of Police had deployed top officers of the command in the affected areas to assess the situation.

Mathias said, “Yes, it is true. We received information of cattle rustling and killing of people in some areas in Mangu.

“As I talk to you right now, the Commissioner of Police has deployed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations to the affected communities. He is still there right now.

“I cannot speak further on the matter because his assessment of the situation will form the basis of our report and information we will give out.”

However, some villagers who claimed to have witnessed the incident told our correspondent that the fleeing rustlers killed the victims in Kerang and Konbun communities of the Mangu LGA when they were challenged by the youth.

According to them, the youth succeeded in arresting three of the gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen and recovering of the rustled cows.

One of the villagers, Mr Michael Joshua, who narrated how the victims were killed by the gunmen, however, said those arrested in connection with the killing had been taken to the Kerang Police Station together with the rustled cows.

Joshua said, “What happened was that some gunmen had gone to Pankshin yesterday (Wednesday night) and stole many cows. While escaping with the cows, they passed through Kerang and Konbun communities in the Mangu Local Government Area of the state. It was at Kerang that the youth and the vigilante groups who had mobilised tried to stop them.

“In the process, the gunmen killed one person and fled leaving the rustled cows. Unfortunately, they attacked another community in Kulben and killed 11 people before making their final escape. But three of them were arrested by the youth and taken to the Kerang Police Station together with the rustled cows.”

Meanwhile, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has condemned the attack, describing it as a setback to the government’s peace efforts in the state.

The governor, in a statement on Thursday, warned that his administration would not sit down and watch any group or individuals cause chaos in the state and return it to the dark days of insecurity.

The statement by the governor’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Macham Makut, quoted Lalong as saying, “We have toiled to ensure that peace returns to Plateau State and we will not allow anyone to make nonsense of our efforts. We are determined to deal decisively and firmly with anybody found culpable in attacking or inciting people to carry out attacks against one another.”

He commended security agencies for arresting seven suspects allegedly connected to the killings and restoring normalcy to the area.

Lalong assured the people that thorough investigations would be carried out to get to the root of the matter, adding that anyone found wanting would face the full wrath of the law.

Copyright PUNCH.

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