According to the Police, 86 persons have been confirmed dead in Plateau, after gunmen attacked Razat, Ruku, Nyarr, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi local government area of the State. Locals and the PDP in Plateau however say the casualty figures from the attack could be over 100.
“The gunmen invaded the villages on Saturday and killed several people”, said Terna Tyopev who is the spokesperson of the Plateau State Police Command.
The police had earlier told the media that 11 had been killed, but Tyopev now says the casualty figures are a lot higher.
Tyopev said: “I want to inform members of the public that we had earlier on in the day informed and confirmed the news of the attack on the Gashish district of Barkin Ladi and confirmed the death toll to be 11 persons.
“I was waiting for a report from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) who was sent by the Commissioner of Police to carry out a search and rescue operation in the district.
“When he came back, he came with an updated figure and the figure that we have now is that 86 people lost their lives in the attack.
On Sunday, the Plateau state government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos south local government areas of the state, in the wake of the attack.
Plateau State information commissioner, Yakubu Dati said “government is deeply pained that despite concerted efforts which had led to the restoration of relative peace across the state, some unpatriotic elements are bent on disrupting the gains so far made”.
Dati assured the public that the State government is working with security forces to restore normalcy to the affected areas.
In a tweet issued on Sunday night, President Muhammadu Buhari said “the grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau today is painful and regrettable. My deepest condolences to the affected communities. We will not rest until all murderers and criminal elements and their sponsors are incapacitated and brought to justice”.
Plateau is one of a handful of States where marauding herdsmen and gunmen have taken to killing locals and farmers over grazing rights and other subjects of dispute.
More than 500 persons have been killed by bandits, gunmen and herdsmen in Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau States since the turn of the year.
Besides the herdsmen-farmers clashes, Buhari, who was elected president in 2015 on the back of a campaign promise to tackle rising insecurity, is also grappling with the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast and sporadic attacks on oil installations by militants in the oil rich Niger Delta region.