Plateau: At least 18 killed as fierce fighting erupts in Barkin Ladi Area



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A fresh round of fighting is said to have erupted  in  Barkin Ladi  Local Government of Plateau state today.Newsdiaryonline.com learnt that   attackers   invaded Gashish and Kurafalls  villages in  the  area  and at least 18 people are believed to have been killed.

According to  reports reaching us, 8 persons were killed at  each of the attacked locations.Two additional people killed were said to be Mopols.The attackers used sophisticated weapons  much to the shock of villagers.There has been no official confirmation of the death toll.Though  our correspondent added that  the death toll may be up to 20.The fighting today  was  so fierce that  a police source said even the STF and the police authorities   could not gain access to the villages immediately.

There is curiosity and anger  however  among the villagers because an STF Commander was said   to have “been in the area yesterday” only for violence to erupt today.Worse still, as fighting broke out earlier today, the   people said they  alerted the STF as early as 6.00am but STF came in only at 10.00am, a development that the local residents  find very unpleasant.Though other reporter said it was the fierceness of the fighting that made it impossible for STF men to go in earlier.

Meanwhile, as the fighting raged , villagers left their homes and went into  the bush  to hide.Some of them  have also  reported  seeing helicopters hovering around the troubled areas today.The sight of helicopters created further panic among the people, it was learnt.Some sources  alleged the helicopters threw bombs at  some locations, but Newsdiaryonline.com could not confirm this claim.

A correspondent in Jos said what sparked  today’s fighting may not be unconnected with an incident  last week  during which there was an attack on the Fulani community by STF.According to the story, a Corporal attached to the STF was killed in Kurafalls village by an unknown person.But the STF went in allegedly with the suspicion that  the Fulani  were responsible for the corporal’s death and the STF according to reports, destroyed over 50 houses belonging to  Fulani people.

Today’s fighting  is  believed to be revenge attacks by the Fulani .As at 1.30pm today, our correspondent said “the area is still too hot”.Sources said villagers are  alleging that today’s  attackers  came from Mahanga camp area which is said to belong to the  Fulani and that is what is fuelling suspicion that it may in fact be revenge attack.But the fighting today may also have opened a new vista into the plateau crisis as it is being alleged that it was  the STF attacks on  the Fulani that has infuriated them into embarking on  these revenge attacks on villagers today; villagers who probably had nothing to do with the attacks on Fulani settlements by STF last week after the alleged killing of a Corporal by an unknown person.

A military expert who spoke to Newsdiaryonline.com  under condition of anonymity said there was the need to  restrain  the task force  officers from carrying out reprisal attacks on the local communities in Plateau state .”What they should do is to embark on investigation of any killing; and to bring the local leaders into  the picture to avert killings.Revenge attacks will only escalate the on going fightings as we are unfortunately  seeing now.Now the Fulani did not attack the STF ,they went after the local  people and this may be an indication  that this crisis will be difficult to bring to an end”,the officer said.

The police have given assurances  that they are trying to  go into the battle zone to see if they could issue a statement later, a correspondent said.

 


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