Twenty-eight women and children were killed in an attack by Fulani Cattle herdsmen on Sunday 15 October in Nkeduru, a village about 12 kilometres from Jos,
The killing has brought the number of people killed in less than a month to over 50. The village is only about a 10 minute drive from the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army.
A villager who survived the attack said: “We heard rumours on Sunday afternoon that the village was going to be attacked by the Fulani, we informed the Joint Military Task Force that was posted in a school in the village.
“The security told us to spend the night in a classroom in the primary school, and said they will protect us since they have guns.”
He told Global Christian News: “I refused to join those sleeping in the classroom and kept vigil in my house. The security men locked the women and children in the class. About 7pm the Fulani came, many of them, and attacked the village. The army ran away and left the women inside.”
“The Fulani opened the classroom, shot all the women, children and men inside and then butchered them with machetes,” he said.
The Rev Andrew Okebe , who lived about three kilometres away from the village said, “We heard the gunshots about 7pm in the night. I was afraid the Fulani were attacking a community. There was nothing we could do.
“The men in the community who had any weapons were arrested and the guns confiscated by the army, leaving the villages defenceless. You know the village has been attacked at least three times in the last three weeks. The army can’t protect the villagers and will not let the villager defend themselves,” Okebe added. “It is frustrating and it definitely looks like there is a plan between the army and the Fulani to wipe out the villagers.”
“I can confirm to you that 28 people were massacred in the primary school Sunday night,” said the Venerable Innocent Okwereogu, an Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese of Jos in Bassa in an interview with Global Christian News. “Meanwhile many churches did not hold any Sunday service in the surrounding communities and people have been fleeing to Jos and other safer communities for safety,” he added. Schools did not open in the Local Council since the incident.
The Plateau State government had imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Bassa region of the state, last week following the killings and protest by women.
“This is what we can’t make sense of,” a community leader told Global Christian News, “there was a curfew where people were to be arrested for moving around at that ungodly hour, there were supposed to be armed security men guarding the community and these villages that have been attacked multiple times are close to a military barracks and yet not a single person has been arrested.”
He said, “It is difficult to convince any sensible person that the security operatives themselves are not behind these attacks. The people see what is going on in their communities and I believe they are right”.
The Plateau state government and the police are yet to make any comments concerning the killings. The Christian community leaders expressed their disappointment at the lack of protection by the joint military task force and said they are awaiting explanations form the army to make any comments.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest, Anglican Diocese of Jos.
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