Residents and a community leader in Plateau state, central Nigeria, stated on Monday that gunmen have killed at least 50 people and kidnapped dozens more.
It’s the latest in a string of armed gang attacks across Africa’s most populated country’s central and northern regions.
according to Jonathan Ishaku, spokesman for Plateau Elders’ Forum, “this is again very sad and we strongly condemn it. The security (forces) should ensure the immediate rescue of all abducted persons.”
He said at least 50 people were killed and 70 people, including women and children, were taken late Sunday afternoon from nine communities.
A spokesman for the state governor, Simon Lalong, said: “many people were killed, with houses and properties destroyed”.
He didn’t say how many people had died.
In Plateau, such attacks are uncommon. However, the state shares a border with Kaduna state in the northwestern part of the country, where suspected bandits — criminal organizations who commit robberies and kidnappings – blew up railroad tracks, killed eight people, and kidnapped scores last month.
Last week, militants assaulted a Kaduna army base, killing fifteen troops.
In most rural areas of Nigeria, phone coverage is spotty, making it impossible for locals to seek urgent assistance from security personnel, who are overburdened fighting armed organizations like Boko Haram and the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) in the northeast.
When he heard gunshots, Isahya Solomon of Kukawa, one of the communities attacked, said he fled in a car with his family and returned later that night after the attackers had disappeared.
His house and several others had been set on fire, while shops had been robbed and locals were rescuing the dead of relatives, he told Reuters by phone on Monday from Jos, Plateau state’s capital city.
“In our community … 38 persons were killed. Many of our houses were burnt to ashes, many shops were looted,” said Solomon.
Image Credit: Getty
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