Machete-wielding raiders who killed over 12 people in an early Wednesday morning attack on the village of Byei, in the Riyom area near Jos, Plateau State cut out the victims’ tongues, according to agency reports.
The Associated Press reports that the attack almost mirrored the tactics used by those who carried out similar massacres in villages dominated by ethnic Berom Christians last week when more than 500 people were slaughtered.
Under the cover of darkness and a driving rain, raiders with machetes entered Byie village early Wednesday, setting fire to homes and firing gunshots into the air to drive frightened villagers into the night, witness Linus Vwi told AP.
”It was raining. They took that advantage,” Vwi said.
Vwi said he and about 20 neighbors rushed into the surrounding wilderness, cowering in bushes as they listened to screams.
He said the attackers spoke Fulani. Officials and witnesses blamed Fulani herders for the killings last week.
Fulani community leader, Mallam Sale Bayari, denied that Fulanis took part in those killings, though he said the community suffered a similar massacre recently.
Six people were wounded in the overnight raid and taken to a local hospital, said Mark Lipdo, leader of a regional Christian nonprofit group. He said attackers burned down 15 homes during the violence.
The dead included seven women, four children and one man, Lipdo said. Attackers removed the tongues of most of the victims, witnesses said.
It was unclear why attackers took the victims‘ tongues.
Reuters reports that the attack happened despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Plateau State which has been enforced by the military since January, when clashes between Muslim Hausa/ Fulani herdsmen and Christian Berom killed more than 500 people, according to community leader.The attack happened despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Plateau State which has been enforced by the military since January, when clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs killed more than 400 people, according to community leaders. The governor of the state, Mr. Jonah Jang had accused the military of complicity in the killings, saying he informed the General Officer Commanding the Third Armoured Brigade, Major General Saleh Meina, of the impending attack after receiving report of suspicious movement around the Riyom area. But Meina denied the allegation of complicity, claiming that the military had been neutral in discharging their duties in Jos.
”Enough is enough. We don‘t want the military again,” Emmanuel Jugu, who represents Riyom in the Plateau State House of Assembly, told Reuters.
”We have been observing the curfew. So how can people now come and slaughter us. The military should withdraw. We are capable of defending ourselves,” he said.
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