ABUJA: A spate of armed attacks on villages in central Nigeria has left at least 113 people dead over the weekend, according to the local regional government. The chairman of the Bokkos Local Government Council, Monday Kassah, confirmed the rising death toll as hostilities, which started on Saturday, continued into Monday morning.
The affected region, located approximately 200 km east of the capital Abuja, has a history of ethnic and religious tensions. Initial reports from the military on Saturday night had stated a considerably lower death toll, standing at 16.
Monday Kassah, the head of the local government in Bokkos, Plateau State, confirmed the increased death toll, revealing that military gangs, locally known as “bandits,” orchestrated “well-coordinated” attacks in more than 20 different communities. Kassah disclosed that over 300 wounded individuals were recovered and subsequently transferred to hospitals in Bokkos, Jos, and Barkin Ladi.
Violence in Nigeria
The attacks, originating in the Bokkos area, spilled over into Barkin Ladi, where an additional 30 people were found dead, as reported by local chairman Danjuma Dakil. Despite condemnation from state governor Caleb Mutfwang, who described the attacks as “barbaric, brutal, and unjustified,” the violence continued. The attacks had prompted the government to announce proactive measures to curb ongoing assaults on innocent civilians, according to Gyang Bere, the governor’s spokesperson.
As late as Monday afternoon, gunfire could still be heard in the region, highlighting the ongoing threat to residents. Amnesty International weighed in on the situation, criticizing the Nigerian authorities for their failure to quell the frequent deadly attacks on rural communities in Plateau state.
Northwest and central Nigeria have long grappled with the menace of bandit militias, operating from remote forest bases, engaging in village raids for looting and kidnapping residents for ransom.