At Least 160 Christian Farmers Killed, 300 Wounded in Coordinated Attacks Across 20 Villages in Nigeria by Muslims on Christmas Day Weekend

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Written By Maya Cantina

Source: Jonathan Benjoe/Facebook

In a devastating outbreak of violence, at least 160 Christians were targeted and killed during what has been described as a “very terrifying Christmas” in north-central Nigeria’s Plateau state.

The affected area has seen a surge of violence over the Christmas Eve weekend, resulting in a death toll that has shocked communities and the nation at large.

Gunmen launched coordinated assaults in not fewer than 20 villages on the eve of December 24th, carrying out attacks that continued unabated into the following day, The Guardian reported.

The suspected attacker, nomadic herders, killed at least 140 people using guns and machetes. According to Punch Newspaper, over 10,000 people were displaced by the attacks.

The local news outlet reported:

On Sunday, gunmen stormed Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarba, Dares, Meyenga, Darwat, and Butura Kampani villages in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu and Bokkos areas of the state burning houses and shooting residents.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of Community Peace Observers in the Bokkos Local Government Area, Mallai, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Over 150 people were killed in the attacks. In Bokkos town alone, more than 10,000 people are taking refuge in churches, mosques, schools, and private residences.”

“Viewer Discretion Advised: The following content contains graphic and potentially distressing material. Viewer discretion is strongly recommended.
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Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State described the attacks on over 20 communities over Saturday and Sunday as “barbaric, brutal and unjustified” in a broadcast on local Channels Television. He reported that during these assaults, the majority of houses in the affected areas were destroyed by fire.

“This has indeed been a very gory Christmas for us. We have had to celebrate with a heavy heart. Just when people had finished preparing for Christmas celebrations, unprovoked attacks were unleashed on several of our communities,” Gov. Mutfwan said.

“As I’m talking to you, in Mangun Local Government alone, we buried at least 15 people. So far this morning in the Bokkos Local Government, we were counting not less than 100 corpses. I have yet to take stock of that of Barki-Ladi. Most of the communities affected in Barki-Ladi share a border with the Bokkos Local Government. ‘’

“Under the last regime, the feeling among people in Plateau State particularly the victims of these terrorist attacks is that it looks as if the terrorists were given official government backing to be able to terrorise them because little or nothing was done to repel these attacks.

“I can tell you these schools that are being occupied, it didn’t just start now, some of those schools have been occupied in the last three, four, five years.

“Children therefore in those schools have not been able to go to school. They have to relocate. We even have primary health care centres abandoned because of these terrorists which means that our health care system is put in jeopardy; what do we need to do? I think this is where the President needs to come in,” he added.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu condemned the brutal attack.

“I strongly condemn the heinous and brutal attacks in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State, which have tragically resulted in the loss of many lives.

I have directed our security agencies to immediately move in, scour every part of the zone, and apprehend the culprits responsible for these atrocities.

Furthermore, I have ordered the immediate mobilization of relief resources for the surviving victims of these primitive and cruel attacks, as well as ensuring medical treatment is provided for the wounded.

While condoling with the government and the people of Plateau State, I assure all Nigerians that the envoys of death, pain, and sorrow responsible for these acts will not escape justice.”

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, suspicion has centered on herders from the Muslim Fulani herdsmen. They have previously been implicated in similar large-scale attacks in the northwest and central regions.

This Muslim tribe targets Christian communities to take their land and resources, deepening the sectarian divide between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

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