By Kenny EMMANUEL
There is palpable tension in Lisham Kwahasnat community of Mangu local government area of Plateau State as 16 people were killed with many others injured in gunmen attack over the weekend.
The gunmen suspected to be killer herdsmen reportedly stormed the community in large numbers at about 10:45 p.m. when the inhabitants were preparing to go to bed.
An eyewitness account disclosed that the gunmen on entry into the community opened fire on the residents at random and shot anyone onsite.
In the attack which lasted for about an hour, 16 people were killed while those who sustained injuries were taken to Mangu General Hospital for treatment.
The eyewitness added that the 16 people killed were given a mass burial on Sunday, amid tension and apprehension by people within the vicinity of the burial and the entire local government area.
The National President, Mangu Development Association (MDA), Sir Joseph Gwankat, who confirmed the unfortunate incident, said the latest attack on the people of the Lisham Kwahasnat community in Mangu local government was a rude shock to all the peace-loving people of the council and the entire state.
According to him, no one expected the attack in view of the series of peace meetings the natives had in recent times, adding that the last of such meetings convened by the military was held last week on Monday.
“The latest attack was a big surprise to us. The Fulani herdsmen came last night and unleashed terror on the people of this community, killing 16 people and injuring others. Those who sustained injuries are at the hospital. We just buried the 16 that were killed.
“I found it difficult to explain because we had met several times with the Fulani people. Just last week, we had a meeting with the Fulani and the natives under the auspices of the organ set up by the GOC, and it was well attended. We resolved to embrace peace, but in spite of this, these people are still attacking. It means we are not telling each other the truth. As long as what we say is not what we do, this thing will continue.
“We have conceded a lot, and each time we have a peace meeting, whatever we say is not what we do. As long as there is an attack, this thing will continue. If they stop the attack today, all the crises will stop. Whatever happened is just a fallback on the previous attack.
“We have talked to our boys, and they have embraced peace, but they still keep coming to attack us, killing people like animals. How do we have peace in the midst of all these killings? This is just an act of terrorism,” he said.
All efforts to speak with the Media Information Officer, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), in charge of the security in the state, Captain James Oya, proved abortive as he could not be reached on his phone while the spokesman, Plateau State Police Command, DSP Alfred Alabo, did not return calls put across to him.