Residents of Plateau communities in Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, and Mangu Local Government Areas have remained abandoned for 12 days following Christmas Eve attacks by gunmen that killed more than 150 people.
According to Clusterchannel, the massacre in Plateau State intensified on Christmas Eve when gunmen assaulted over 25 towns, killing over 150 people.
The gunmen also set fire to multiple residences and goods worth millions of naira, displacing over 10,000 people.
Mangur village, Mbar, Tangur, Bokkos Central, Butura, and Mushere are among the communities targeted.
Our correspondent observed that the impacted communities, including Matellem village, Dung village, Yelwa village, and Ngyong, were virtually deserted.
It was also discovered that there was no security presence in the impacted communities.
The bodies of other inhabitants who were burned beyond recognition covered the floor of their charred houses in Mbar, where a pastor and four of his children and his wife were among those believed to have been killed during the attack.
A peace advocate, Gideon ParaMallam, who led a team of his Peace Foundation to Bokkos communities to sympathize with the people on Friday expressed concern over the level of devastation in the communities.
ParaMallam also visited the internally displaced persons who were camping at different locations, including the COCIN Church in Bokkos and donated some relief materials to them.
Speaking with journalists, ParaMallam said, “We have come here to Bokkos and we have seen and heard from the people. The attacks in Bokkos villages have been very devastating. The loss of lives and the degrading and the degrading of human dignity has been very painful. Our peace foundation came to make a call for peace to appeal to the people of Bokkos for restraints.
“We have also come to see things for ourselves so that we can promote the cry for Justice for the people of Bokkos. Our peace foundation believes in peace building that is predicated on justice.
“That useless narrative that goes around that makes it look as if that it is Bokkos people who have been fighting and killing themselves is a complete fallacy and a lie .Bokkos People are not killing themselves.
“We have talked with them and heard from them and I believe that our visit will not only throw more light on what Bokkos people have gone through but to encourage Nigerians to rise in unison to condemn the terrorism that took place on Christmas eve and right after that .The only way to bring peace to Bokkos Communities is to return them back to their communities.”
Our correspondent noticed a dense billowing smoke still flowing from the charred palace of the supreme king of Bokkos at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Soldiers recruited to the region may also be spotted guarding the palace.
The supreme king was said to have fled the community with members of his family before the protesting ladies set fire to his home.
According to the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in Bokkos LGA, Kefas Mallai, the protesting women burned the palace of the paramount because they believe he has abandoned the people to their fate as a result of the attacks in their villages.
“The people are angry at the district head of Bokkos, which is why they went and set fire to his house because they believe he has compromised his duty to speak out and protect the people,” he said.
“Just yesterday (Thursday), some of the youths who went to look after their burnt communities were arrested by soldiers. The women saw that as unfair and injustice and wanted them to be released as they could not understand why the soldiers would leave terrorists and were arresting people who are victims .And in all of these the paramount ruler was nowhere to be found and so they went and burnt his house “
In an interview, Monday Kassam, Chairman of Bokkos LGA, accused the military for the renewed violence in his area.
He said, “When the people who went to look after the attacked communities were arrested by the soldiers, about 10 of them were arrested. I got the information and I called the Commander and told him what was happening and asked that those people should be arrested. They should release them but he did not listen. So, that is the problem but we have been talking to the people so that the issue can be resolved.”
It was discovered that, in the wake of the attacks in the communities, a new sector commander had been sent to Bokkos.
However, Lt Col Isaac Indiorhwer, the new Sector Commander of Operation Safe Haven overseeing Bokkos, allayed concerns about any potential new attacks in the towns and gave assurances that they were making every effort to bring peace back to the troubled communities.
After touring the problematic areas, the president of the Gideon and Funmmi ParaMallam Peace Foundation visited the Command’s headquarters in Bokkos on Friday, where the commander gave a speech.
He also denied the idea that the army had given up on the unstable areas.