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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Armed groups carried out a series of coordinated attacks on villages in central Nigeria, resulting in a death toll of at least 160 people. Local government officials reported a significant increase from the army’s initial figure of 16 casualties, revealing the severity of the situation.

Monday Kassah, the head of the local government in Bokkos, Plateau State, stated that the attacks occurred in more than 20 different communities, with military gangs, locally known as “bandits,” launching well-coordinated assaults. Houses were torched, and over 300 wounded individuals were transported to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi.

The Red Cross provided a provisional toll of 104 deaths in 18 villages in the Bokkos region, while an additional 50 people were reported dead in several villages in the Barkin Ladi area. Dickson Chollom, a member of the state parliament, condemned the attacks and urged swift action from security forces.

The violence, which originated in the Bokkos area, spilled into neighboring Barkin Ladi, where 30 more people were found dead. Plateau State governor Caleb Mutfwang denounced the brutality as “barbaric, brutal, and unjustified,” pledging proactive measures to curb ongoing attacks against innocent civilians.

As gunfire echoed through the region on Monday afternoon, Markus Amorudu, a resident of Mushu village, described the sudden attack while people were sleeping, resulting in casualties and capturing of individuals.

Amidst the aftermath, Amnesty International criticized the government for failing to address the frequent deadly attacks on rural communities in Plateau state. Northwest and central Nigeria have long faced threats from bandit militias operating in forests, looting villages, and kidnapping residents for ransom.

The region’s social tensions, exacerbated by competition for natural resources between nomadic herders and farmers, along with the impacts of rapid population growth and climate pressures, have contributed to the escalation of violence. Additionally, a jihadist conflict in northeastern Nigeria, ongoing since 2009, has claimed tens of thousands of lives as Boko Haram and rivals linked to the Islamic State group vie for supremacy.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, elected in February, has pledged to attract more investment to address Nigeria’s persistent security challenges. The situation remains critical as the nation grapples with the devastating consequences of these attacks.

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