VIOLENCE, suspected to be the ceaseless clashes between Nomadic pastoralists and subsistence farmers, have reportedly left 300 people dead in central Nigeria. More than 500 others are reportedly unaccounted for during the skirmishes afflicting the Plateau State.
Officials said the violence has exacerbated since the end of the 2023 general elections that started on February 25 with the presidential election whose outcome the opposition parties are disputing in court. The bloodshed is mostly in some districts of Mangu local government of the state.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) reported the bloodletting began after local militia perpetrated an orgy of violence in pastoralist settlements in Alogwon, Cha, Dunwel, Sabon
Gari and Similang, and killed 11 people as well as injuring 100 others and rustling of over 40 cows.
In the Kumbun district, 50 people have allegedly been killed while in the Daika and Yittup district, some 22 people have been killed while 220 others were injured and 650 cattle rustled and 120 houses burnt down. Seven people have been reported dead in the district of Panyam as the violence spreads.
“MACBAN is worried that this upsurge of violence and the ethnic cleansing of pastoral communities in the local government seemed to be well organized and orchestrated by ethics bigots who want to continue
the ethnic wars in the plateau,” said Bello Gotomo, MACBAN National Secretary.
He expressed his sentiments in a statement to the media. MACBAN has called on security agencies to arrest and prosecute perpetrators.
“MACBAN believes this ethnic cleansing agenda is not winnable or sustainable in this time when efforts are being made to revive the nation’s economy and provide employment to millions of young educated
people roaming the streets,” Gotomo said.
The association is calling on officials elected during the general polls to address the issue.
“We also urge the pastoral communities in the state to exercise restraint in the face of this calamity that has befallen them,” Gotomo stated.
Caleb Mutfwang, elected governor in March on the ticket of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), denounced the perpetrators as terrorists.
“We must recognize the grave consequences of their reign and unite to restore justice and prosperity,” the governor-elect urged.
Africa’s biggest nation by population (estimated at 220 million people and over 300 ethnic groups), Nigeria has for years battled disputes over land resources between the mostly-Muslim herders and the majorly Christian farmers.
The clashes are especially prominent in the Middle Belt. The region has no single dominant group, in a country where Christians are the most populous in the south and Muslims dominate in the north.
– CAJ News