By Michael Shuaib
Jos (Precise Post) – “We are tired of enduring these unprovoked attacks, we live in fear each day because we do not know who is next or what next would happen. We are appealing to all people of conscience to come to our aid, we have not wronged anyone but each time we are made to suffer for what we do not know. We really need help.”
For the umpteenth time in almost a decade, gunmen again invaded Wereng station, a quiet hamlet in Riyom local government area and this time attacking nine people, leaving six of them dead and three others receiving treatment at the Vom Christian hospital.
Although all human lives matter but the latest attack involved ChungyangTengong, a prince who was to be crowned Head of the village. He was killed alongside Pam Bako (cousin to the prince), Davou Kwal, Linus Raphael, Vou Pam, Evelyn Peter (a minor) while Kim Francis, his wife Mary and Lyop David were injured.
Apart from loss of lives, the community has also suffered loss of means of livelihood as crops have been destroyed by yet to be arrested merchants of violence. Natives have become apprehensive while some have fled their homes to safer areas.
Davou Gyang, the Acting Gwom Wereng told Saturday Vanguard,”that night, we were at home after the day’s work, between 9pm and 10pm, when the attackers swooped on the people. They killed three people in one house and attacked three others in another house who are now receiving treatment in a hospital. They ambushed three other people who were returning to their homes and killed them on the road. The corpses were shot and later macheted. They also killed the nominated Village Head who was awaiting his coronation.
A survivor, 32 year-old Kim Francis who was shot on the leg said “it was dark so when we saw the attackers, we first thought they were vigilante volunteers because they were wearing boots and security kits until they started shooting at us. They kept shooting and picking their expended bullet shells as they moved. We are sick and tired of all this; for how long shall we be killed with no action taken?
“We work to sustain ourselves, now that we are here on hospital beds, we have no resources to foot the hospital bill that will be incurred. We solicit for intervention from spirited individuals and appropriate authorities to enable us pay our bills.”
Solomon Mwantiri of the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria who works closely with survivors of attacks in rural communities in the Northern zone of the State lamented the recurring incidents of attacks, ambushes and killings saying subjecting the people to a life of fear was not acceptable.
According to him, “On the 7th of this month armed Fulani suspected to be from Rankum (Mahanga) attacked Vwak village of Jol community, injuring Miss Blessing Davou, an IDP from Darin hamlet. A vigilante who pleaded anonymity called and intimated me about the development. While we were on watch in threvening, we noticed suspicious movements of Fulani, grouping themselves. We became very apprehensive in view of rape incident and assault on Mrs. Suzanna Joseph and recent happenings in other neighboring villages, so we intensified vigilance.
“Prior to the attack, we spotted torch lights moving from Guava and Rankum(Mahanga) axis. After a short while, we heard heavy gunfire, which resulted in injury of a young lady. Appropriate authorities were immediately informed for necessary actions.”
However, the Senator representing Plateau North Senatorial zone, Istifanus Gyanglamented the continued attacks on communities in his constituency asking “for how long will the Nigerian state and government turn the blind eye in the face of these killings?”
Senator Gyang in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media and Protocol, Musa Ashoms urged all men of goodwill and lovers of peace to join in praying that by the mercies of God, it shall not be long that this too shall pass and lasting peace restored to Plateau North.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Simon Lalong who expressed fury over the killings, described recent attacks as worrisome and unacceptable and directed security agencies to do all that was necessary to apprehend the killers and also halt pockets of isolated attacks on innocent people.
Lalong in a statement his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Machamwhile sympathizing with families of the victims and survivors said, “We will not allow these ugly incidences to return where helpless and innocent people are murdered in cold blood for no reason.
These killers must be fished out at whatever cost and brought to justice. I urge the people to cooperate with the security agencies by providing useful information that will facilitate the arrest of the attackers.”