Over eight persons were killed when suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked churches and houses in Barkin Ladi Local Government area of Plateau State.
The police confirmed that 95 houses were also burnt and 310 cows stolen during the attacks.
The incident came barely 24 hours after a two-day peace summit in Jos organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (Northern Region) with the theme, “Sustainable peace and security in Northern Nigeria as a panacea for development.”
During one of the attacks on Tuesday evening, a pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations, Rev. Adamu Gyang Wurim, his wife and three children were killed.
The assailants were said to have set the branch of COCIN church in Abonong village, Foron district on fire.
The cleric and his children were said to have been burnt beyond recognition in his bedroom while his wife was shot in the bathroom.
A source said, “The attackers armed with machetes and AK47 rifles stormed the village at about 8pm on Tuesday, shooting sporadically and burning houses including part of the reverend’s house.”
The Chairman of the Berom Youth Movement (Foron Branch), Thomas Tsok, said, “The herdsmen first shot at two young men walking out of the village where they had gone to charge their phones at the pastor’s house, killing one and wounding the other.”
According to him, four other persons were shot on Wednesday morning in Fan and Bek villages by security operatives attached to the Special Task Force codenamed Operation Safe Haven.
The herdsmen, he said, allegedly rustled 60 cows from nearby Zayit village where they destroyed a church.
The attackers, who also damaged furniture and other facilities at the COCIN Church in Abonong, destroyed 15 maize farms in order to create road access to the village.
An earlier attack on Tuesday by suspected herdsmen at a mining site in Wereh village, Ropp District in Barkin Ladi LGA had resulted in the killing of one and wounding of another.
The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed the killings, saying investigations had commenced.
He said, “On 28/08/2018 at about 2000hrs, the Plateau State Police Command, Jos received information that some communities in Foron District of Barkin Ladi LGA namely: Abonong and Zayit were under attack by unknown gunmen. The command quickly mobilised to the communities.
“While the police were approaching the areas, the attackers sighted them from afar and ran away from the scene of crime. As a result of the attack, eight persons lost their lives, three people were injured, 95 houses were burnt down and 310 cattle were stolen.
“Property and foodstuff were looted and destroyed. The Police Command has deployed more personnel in the areas to prevent further attacks. Investigation is ongoing to track and arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act to face the consequences of their actions.”
The Executive Director of Stefanos Foundation, civil rights organisation, Mark Lipdo, also confirmed the killings.
He said, “We received a report today (Wednesday) that Fulani militants on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 attacked Barkin Ladi LGA at Wereh village of Ropp District and killed three people. Also in Fan District, they killed one man.
“In Foron District, around 7pm on Tuesday, a 50-year- old Reverend Adamu Jang of COCIN and his wife with their three children were set ablaze in the pastorium of the Local Church Council premises in Gwol (Mai Idotoro).
“Also in another development, this Wednesday morning, report says soldiers shot and killed a woman and left another person with bullet wounds.”
Several calls to the spokesperson for the OPSH, Maj. Umar Adams, for reaction were not replied.
Consequently, over 200 women in the LGA were said to have taken to the streets on Wednesday to protest the killings.
The women were said to have blocked major roads demanding justice for the victims of the attacks in which many houses and churches were burnt.
The chairman, Committee on Public Accounts and Petition and member representing Barkin Ladi constituency in Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng, in an interview told our correspondent that he was addressing the protesting women.
“Tension is high in Barkin Ladi, many houses and churches were burnt to ashes,” the legislator stated.
The protesters were said to have stormed the STF Headquarters in Barkin Ladi demonstrating against the killings.
Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom constituency, Istifanus Gyang, said six other villages — Loh-Fan, Loh-Pwat, Nafan, Sagas, Nzom and Ude villages were also attacked on Tuesday night.
Gyang in a statement accused the Federal Government of complicity following the renewed attacks which came about two months after the killing of over 200 persons in Barkin Ladi LGA.
He said, “These attacks are coming at a time when the people are yet to recover from the massacre of over 200 persons in the same Barkin Ladi LGA with thousands of the displaced victims still languishing in Internally Displaced Persons camps.
“Furthermore, there has been the sustained destruction of farms in many villages aimed at strangulating the communities economically as farming is their main economic activity.
“The unfortunate thing is that the perpetrators of these attacks continue to execute their agenda with reckless abandon without an appropriate response by government!
“Until a decisive action is taken by the Nigerian government against the killer herdsmen to stop the ethnic cleansing and land grabbing, the presumption is simply that of acquiescence and complicity for which the government shall one day be held accountable for crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide.”
The legislator however appealed to the villagers to be peaceful and law abiding.