By Taye Obateru, with agency report
Jos — The renewed hostilities between suspected Fulani herdsmen and locals in different parts of Plateau State have claimed 22 more lives as gunmen invaded two villages in Bokkos Local Government Area early yesterday.
The gunmen alleged to be mercenaries from Chad and Niger Republics shot dead 20 people at Matol and Mangol villages using sophisticated weapons.
Two anti-riot policemen attached to the Special Task Force, STF, maintaining security in the state were also shot in an exchange of fire.
However, six of the attackers also lost their lives in the exchange of fire with the security men who rushed to the villages following an alert.
A spokesman of the STF, Lt. Navy Akpa, confirmed the attack and loss of the two policemen. He also confirmed the killing of six of the attackers.
Akpa, however, said the casualty figure was “still being verified” but confirmed that men of the STF killed six of the attackers and made some arrests.
It was learnt that the violence spread in the morning as locals descended on Fulani settlements around them. Business activities in the area were said to have been paralyzed as a result of the attack with many afraid of which area would be the next target.
Also, Chairman, Bokkos Local Government Area, Mr Zakka Akos, confirmed that 18 bodies were recovered at the scene of the attack, just as Dr Kumbem Temang of Cottage Hospital, Bokkos confirmed that 18 people were killed and among them was a 70-year-old woman known as Kaka Kiwo.
A victim of the attack, one Majau Yohanna, as saying that the attackers invaded the village “from 7 p.m. not long after we returned from our farms and were resting in our respective houses.
“They (attackers) came in large numbers and had very sophisticated weapons,” Yohanna, currently on admission at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital, BUTH, Jos told NAN.
Plateau govt reacts
In a reaction to the killings, the Plateau State Government through the Commissioner for Information and Communication Mr. Yiljap Abraham said: ”This is another unsettling event in the state with the accompanying implication of creating disaffection among communities that had long lived together.
”Let it be known that the Plateau State Government is determined to use every legal and constitutional means to ensure the maintenance of law and order in every part of the state.
”This, however, calls for high level vigilance by all communities and people of goodwill to thwart the plans of restless people and groups who do not wish to see the people of the State at peace with themselves.”