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At least 150 people killed, 70 kidnapped, hundreds missing or hospitalised after persistent deadly and rampant attacks by unknown gunmen in Taraba and Plateau states

15 April 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

Widespread rampant attacks in Taraba State – the most recent on Tuesday, April 12, during which seven people were killed – have forced residents from several villages to flee their homes for safety.

Ahmad Umar from Gassol told RNI’s head of news, Mamman Mahmood, that there had been a series attacks by unknown gunmen in the past week.

He said most of the attacks occurred in central Taraba, but communities in the north and south of the state had also been hit.

“In Bali yesterday [April 12], seven people were killed during an attack on the community. Houses were burnt down and belongings were stolen by the gunmen, who arrived on many motorcycles.”

He said even though there were security operatives present in the state, attacks kept occurring because the vast forest that surrounded Taraba was an ideal place for the gunmen to hide.

“The attackers invade the state, coming from the forest. We suspect they come from Zamfara State, where attacks are also widespread. We think they hide in Kambari, a forest in Garin Lamido town,” Umar said.

Security agents had encountered the criminals often previously but the attacks continued. He said many people had been forced to abandon their homes, desperately seeking somewhere safer.

“The motives of the attacks are still unclear and no one group has taken responsibility. But Taraba is rich in mineral resources and it’s a business hub where many rich individuals live. Kidnappings are becoming more and more common.”

Umar said authorities needed to tackle the issue soon, before the fast-approaching rainy season began. If they did not, many of the residents would not be able to farm, which would add to food insecurity in the region.

An attack by unknown gunmen in Kanam, a local government area in Plateau State, on Sunday, April 10, resulted in more than 100 people being killed and at least 70 civilians being kidnapped. Many were still missing and the wounded were being treated in hospital in four communities of the Kanang Local Government Area.

RNI reporter Aisha Jamal spoke to Ibrahim Abdullahi Muhammad, a resident of Jos, the administrative capital and largest city of Plateau State.

“The attackers stormed the community, shooting haphazardly, and forcing people to run for their lives. The gunmen shot anyone they came across – men, women and children. They burnt down more than 100 houses as they went. At least 130 people were killed, 70 kidnapped and many are still missing.”

He said no one knew who the attackers were but it was believed that they were not from a particular religious, tribal or community group and were thought to be a mixture of all tribes and religions.

Also, no updates had been given on who the attackers were and investigations by security agents, who had been stationed in affected communities, were continuing.

“Many people have fled to safer areas but everything is calm again and residents’ lives are getting back to normal even though many of them are fearful of another attack,” Muhammad said.

In an interview with the BBC, Abdul Salam Gambo Mubarak, representing Bali and Gassol in Taraba State, said he had asked the Nigerian government to send troops to all areas that had been attacked, including those in neighboring Plateau State.

“Sheka, Baba Juli, Bali and Gassol are some of the communities that have been attacked. More than 150 individuals have been killed and at least 500 displaced. Many people have been hospitalised and the gunmen are asking for ransoms for those missing. We want army camps to be set up in Gassol, Sangirde and other communities in the state until things are brought under control. We also want relief support for those who have been displaced so that that they can return to their communities,” Mubarak said.



About the author

Mbodou Hassane Moussa

Journaliste de formation et de profession. Passionné par l'écriture, le digital et les médias sociaux, ces derniers n'ont aucun secret pour lui. Il a embrassé très tôt l'univers des médias et de la Communication. Titulaire d'une Licence en journalisme et d'un Master en Management des projets, Mbodou Hassan Moussa est éditeur Web du journal en ligne Toumaï Web Médias. Aujourd'hui, il est devenu Webmaster à la Radio Ndarason internationale et collabore à la réalisation du journal en langue française et dialecte Kanembou.