Residents of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State said they were attacked on Wednesday morning as gunmen continued to wreak havoc despite the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government on Tuesday.
Caleb Mutfwang, the state governor, imposed a curfew after deadly violence occurred in the local council on Tuesday.
The crisis, mainly between indigenous farmers and migrant herdsmen, continued around 09:30 am when armed men “in large numbers invaded the entire community,” Uba Shehu, a resident of Mangu Alle town, told PREMIUM TIMES.
Shehu said Mangu Alle was not affected yesterday when the crisis hit other local council areas.
When Sunday Dankaka, president of the Mwaghavul Youth Movement (MYM), was contacted, he said: “Let’s talk later, we are now under attack.”
Plateau governor’s spokesperson Gyang Bere told PREMIUM TIMES that the government was working hard to stop the violence.
“The curfew is still in effect,” he said, noting that the government is working with community leaders to “stop” the deteriorating situation.
The violence, according to residents of the area, began around 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday until the governor imposed a curfew a few hours later.
Despite uncertain casualty figures, gunmen razed churches and mosques in Anguwan Dawo, Old Market and Bayan Kasuwa, local council suburbs.
“No one can say the number of people who died yesterday,” Shehu said. “Some people are currently in hospitals, while dozens of people were killed in Gangara Kwata.”
He explained that the attackers entered through Mangu North and invaded Gangara Kwata, asking residents to “fish out the Fulani who were taking refuge in the community.”
Subsequently, the violence escalated to other areas, where worship centers and shops were set on fire.
Before the violence broke out, PREMIUM TIMES learned that there was a shootout between some suspected rustlers and herdsmen on Monday night.
Multiple sources in the area told our correspondent that two major incidents that occurred on Monday could have triggered the violence.
A businessman who asked not to be named for fear of being attacked said a herdsman and a local man had clashed along a bridge linking Jos to Mangu.
“The man from Mwaghavul, from Sabon Gari, was on a motorcycle and crushed one of the cattle that the shepherd was herding,” he narrated. “The pastor took revenge by hitting him with his staff. Later the military intervened and resolved the case.”
According to him, other vehicles and motorcycles were waiting for the herds of cattle to cross the bridge.
This correlates with what Shipi Gakji, security advisor to the governor of Plateau State, said. According to Daily Trust, Gakji attributed yesterday’s conflict to a dispute over the right of way.
Another resident of the area, who also requested anonymity, said there were cases of attempted cattle rustling in herdsmen settlements near Gangara Kwata on Monday afternoon.
“But they were repelled by the [armed] shepherds and the situation became violent the next morning,” he explained.
Previous violence in Mangu
Last April, a resource-based conflict between Mwaghavul farmers and Fulani herdsmen rocked the local council and claimed more than 300 lives. Schools, farmland, livestock, homes and other property were lost in the months-long violence.
Both parties accused each other of inviting mercenaries from elsewhere to assist in what they described as “land grabs, forced evictions and ethnic cleansing.”
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