Gunmen have reportedly killed at least 142 persons in fresh attacks on some communities in Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas of Plateau State, North-central Nigeria.
The attacks, which happened on Sunday, were carried out in Kukawa, Gyambawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji, and Dadin Kowa communities of the state.
The two local governments share boundaries but are not in the same senatorial districts.
Ishaku Takwa, the media officer of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), a military task force maintaining peace in Plateau State and environs, confirmed the attacks to journalists on Sunday in Jos.
The spokesperson of the Plateau State governor, Makut Macham, did not respond to enquiries on the exact figure when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES.
This newspaper could not also reach the police spokesperson in the state, Gabriel Ubah, as he did not respond to telephone calls and SMS sent to him.
However, an online medium, Peoples Gazette, reported that the governor’s spokesperson confirmed the figure.
BBC Hausa also quoted a traditional ruler as saying that at least 135 people were killed during the attacks.
The traditional ruler, whose name was not given, also said 54 people were killed in Kukawa while 34 were killed in Gyambawu villages.
The latest attacks come less than a month after 10 persons were killed in Te’egbe village of Bassa Local government. Many people were also injured and at least 30 houses were burnt in the attack, a statement by the police said.
Before that attack, Irigwe, another community in Bassa, was also embroiled in communal crises where at least 10 persons were killed.
Plateau State has seen more communal and religious crises in the last decade than any other state in Nigeria.
Hundreds of persons were killed in the crises which have reoccurred countless times.
Reacting to the sad incident, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, in a statement, ordered security operatives in the state to fish out culprits of the mayhem.
In the statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr Macham, Mr Lalong vowed to make it difficult for terrorists and other criminals to set their bases in any part of the state and use same to launch attacks on innocent citizens.
He said security agents have also been charged to dominate the area after their initial response which he said put a stop to the carnage.
“According to the governor, Plateau State will never be used as a haven for terrorists to set up camps and use same to wreak havoc on communities and innocent citizens in the State and elsewhere.
“Governor Lalong said the State Security Council has adopted far-reaching measures to strengthen all security measures and enhance the capacity of the security agencies to respond to all situations that cause a breach of the peace in any part of the State.
“Lalong who sympathised with the communities affected promised them justice as those behind the attacks will not be allowed to go without punishment. He also directed the State Emergency Management Agency and the Peace Building Agency to immediately visit the areas, assess the situation and provide relief as well as trauma management,” the statement said.
The statement further said the state has already approached the federal government for collaboration to deal with the terrorists hibernating in the area once and for all to enable people to go about their legitimate businesses without molestation and harassment.