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Many killed in Plateau village invasions

Unidentified militia groups early yesterday invaded three villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, authorities said yesterday.  Conflicting figures emerged from the…

Unidentified militia groups early yesterday invaded three villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, authorities said yesterday.
 Conflicting figures emerged from the affected communities indicating that 20 people were killed while the Special Task Force (STF) counted nine dead.
 Although a federal legislator, Barrister Istifanus Gyang and STF spokesman, Captain Ikedi Iweha, did not give the identity of the attackers, the affected communities blamed the invasion on Fulani mercenaries, an allegation a Fulani group denied.
“They came at dawn and raided our communities while we were still in bed, killing our people,” a member of one of the affected communities told newsmen in Jos. “They are Fulani mercenaries,” he added.
He said no fewer than 20 persons in the three Berom villages of Nding, Nafan-Dregei and Nyerwei were killed in the dawn raid which lasted several minutes.
But the leadership of the Miyetti Allah, a Fulani group, denied the involvement of his people.
 “We have no idea our people carried out any attack. We have continued to restrain our people from reacting to any provocation by the Berom,” Ropp Abubakar Abdullahi, who is also the Ardo (Fulani head) in Barkin Ladi, told Daily Trust.
Meanwhile, Barrister Gyang who described the incident as a setback to the peace deal which is in progress between Berom and Fulani in the state, said 13 people were killed.
Gyang said in a statement: “We have received with shock the killing of 13 persons through violent attacks on seven villages.”
He condemned the attack, saying: “The renewed attacks are least expected at a time when concerted peace efforts and dialogue meetings are on-going between Berom and Fulani stakeholders.”
He appealed to the warring tribes to cease fire and commit themselves to ensuring that Barkin-Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency “is rebranded from an axis of violence and bloodshed to one of peace and prosperity.”
The STF spokesman said nine persons were killed, six by the invaders, whose identity he said was yet to be known, while three of the invaders lost their lives while engaging men of the operation in a gun battle.
He said there was “a coordinated attack by the invaders to which the STF responded immediately.”
 

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