In a tragic resurgence of violence, four individuals lost their lives to suspected herdsmen attacks across two villages within the Miango district, Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau State. The Irigwe Development Association’s national publicity secretary, Davidson Malison, reported a deadly incursion into the Nkienzha community early Monday, resulting in three fatalities and one person severely wounded by machete cuts, now under medical care. A subsequent assault on Teegbe village on Saturday night accounted for the fourth victim, alongside a vehicular ambush on Friday that left a car torched and one injured.
The Rigwe nation’s leadership, encompassing the traditional council and development association, condemned these attacks as utterly inhumane and barbaric. Reverend Ronku Aka, the paramount ruler of Rigwe Chiefdom, and Robert Ashi, President of the Irigwe Development Association, have implored security forces to detain and duly prosecute the culprits behind these grievous acts.
Plateau State has recently been a hotspot for such brutal incursions, with over 200 individuals massacred during the Christmas Eve onslaughts in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government areas, including extensive property and farmland destruction. The violence persisted into the new year, claiming over 30 lives and devastating numerous homes in Kwahaslalek village, Mangu Local Government Area, in January. This spate of violence prompted Governor Caleb Mutfwang to enact a curfew in the affected area, which has since been lifted.
The recent surge in violence across Plateau State’s villages is not just a local tragedy but a stark reminder of the fragility of peace and security in regions marred by historical conflicts and contemporary grievances. The attacks on Miango district’s villages underscore a broader narrative of unrest that threatens the very fabric of communal harmony and coexistence. As we delve into the heart of this crisis, it becomes evident that the path to peace is fraught with complexities that demand immediate, sustained, and inclusive solutions.
The loss of lives in Nkienzha and Teegbe villages is a grim testament to the urgent need for a comprehensive strategy that encompasses not only punitive measures against perpetrators but also proactive steps towards reconciliation and the prevention of future conflicts. The call by the Rigwe nation’s leadership for justice is a crucial step towards accountability. Yet, it also highlights the necessity for a broader dialogue that addresses the root causes of such violence.
Security measures, while essential, must be part of a more extensive, multifaceted approach that includes economic development, educational opportunities, and the promotion of inter-communal dialogue. Despite the recurring cycles of violence, the resilience of communities in Plateau State reflects a profound yearning for peace and stability that must be nurtured and supported.
As we stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, we must also champion the cause of peace that transcends mere rhetoric. The echoes of our opening thesis resonate more than ever: the journey towards peace in Plateau State and similar regions is a collective endeavour that requires the commitment of all stakeholders, from local communities to national authorities and international partners. We hope to turn the tide against the forces of division and hatred through a united front.
Did You Know?
- Plateau State, known as the “Home of Peace and Tourism” in Nigeria, has a rich cultural heritage with over 40 ethnic groups.
- The state is geographically unique, featuring the Jos Plateau, which has an average altitude of about 1280 metres above sea level, making it one of the highest points in Nigeria.
- Plateau State has a history of communal clashes that date back several decades, often rooted in land disputes, religious differences, and ethnic tensions.
- Nigeria has one of the largest populations of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world, with conflicts such as those in Plateau State contributing significantly to this number.
- The African Union has initiatives to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts on the continent, highlighting the importance of continental efforts in addressing issues similar to those in Plateau State.