Violence Continues Between The Muslim Herdsmen And The Christian Farmers In Nigeria

Since January, there has been an increasing number of violent attacks taking place in Nigeria’s Plateau state. Al Jazeera claims these attacks are all associated with tensions between the Christian farmers and Muslim Nomadic herdsmen. The groups are disputing over land rights in the area, which has created ethnic and religious tension. According to News24, The International Crisis group claims that this conflict is even more devastating than the actions of Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has been instigating violence throughout the country for years. Al Jazeera reported that approximately 300,000 villagers have fled the area due to the intensity of the attacks.

Recently, reporters from the DailyTrust revealed that an attack occurred on Sunday 16 September in Lopandet Dwei Du village, where gunmen killed 11 villagers and wounded another 12. Compared to previous attacks, this one was the closest to two military checkpoints and the city centre.  Additionally, the DailyTrust noted that it is believed the gunmen drove into the village with a Hilux van wearing the military uniforms of a local government area. The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Terna Tyopev, released a statement to multiple news outlets in the city the following day confirming the attack, and the loss of the 11 civilians. According to the DailyTrust, Tyopev stated that armed security personnel were installed around the area to reassure the community of their safety, and to avoid any future attacks.

As this incident is making its way into the news, it has also been noted that many villagers are angry and upset. Nanglong, a newsperson for AllAfrica, announced that villagers have attacked many local journalists from a variety of news sources out of anger, because no changes are being made by the government. When news breaks out about violent incidents the government does little to prevent future attacks, and does not have civilian safety as a top priority. AllAfrica announced that although no journalist had been physically harmed, Governor Lalong “appealed to members of the public to resist resorting to self-help to avoid falling into the trap of the perpetrators of the attacks, whose aim is to return the state to the dark era of bloodletting.”

The Eagle reports that law enforcement has stated that there is an ongoing investigation to find the gunmen involved in the attack. Furthermore, AllAfrica broadcasted that Pwojok, a representing member of Plateau North Senatorial District, told the affected community and family members that there will be a thorough investigation, and that those convicted of the attacks will be held accountable under the law.