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Farmers-Herders Clashed; Plateau Attacks, Killings Are Pure Terrorism; Not Motivated By Religion – Governor Mutfwang

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Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has said that the Christmas Eve attacks in about 17 communities in the state where over 100 people were killed and scores injured were outright terrorism. According to him, it was never motivated by religious or farmers-herders crisis. Governor Mutfwang, who said this on Tuesday during an interview with ARISE NEWS Television, described the incident as a great tragedy. He said that at least 15 people killed in the attacks had been buried. Lamenting the attacks, Mutfwang said, “It’s been a great tragedy. What have we done to be able to get to this point before this current crisis? We resorted to both kinetic and non-kinetic strategies.

“For the non-kinetic, we got into a lot of community engagements trying to unravel remote and immediate causes of the crisis. We’ve been able to sit down with various levels, with the community leaders and that worked. It worked to a large extent because they saw our sincerity.

“They saw our determination to change the narrative, that we didn’t just come to have these discussions as usual just for political correctness. We were able to get to some of the issues that really touch and affect people.

“But I must say that this recent action has nothing to do with the farmers-herders clash, has nothing to do with religion. This is pure criminality, this is pure terrorism, this is just gruesome murder on the eve of a revered day of remembrance.

“It’s quite unfortunate, but we will continue these engagements and also explore other ways by which we can be able to bring the situation under control.”

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The governor said that terrorists had been operating in the state before he was sworn in as governor, and that steps had been taken to quell the attacks. He said, “Before I was sworn in, these terrorists descended on Mangu Local Government, where I come from, which, hitherto, had been one of the most peaceful in the state. And continually did the local government and my deputy in Riyom, and of course, Barakin Ladi, Bokkos. We worked assiduously.

“When I saw Mr. President, he gave marching orders to the security agencies on ground which was what brought the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Defence staff, the Inspector General of Police; they all came over to the scene of the crisis of Plateau, and I will say that the collaboration did yield positive results, because you would agree that we haven’t been so much in the news in the last couple of months for the reasons of this insurgency and terrorism.

“Unfortunately, while we were preparing for Christmas, these terrorists, these criminals, descended on our people again in various communities.”

Speaking on the casualty figure, Governor Mutfwang said, “I regret to inform you that as at this morning, we probably have had a harvest of deaths in excess of 100. We have buried not less than 15 people in Mangu Local Government, and in Bokkos, it’s 100 and still counting, minus those who are missing, and we cannot account for at this moment. Also, not less than 17 communities have been completely burned down, those who survived are presently in a temporary IDP camp, particularly in Bokkos. The governor said that as soon as everyone was accounted for and all information was gathered appropriately, the Plateau government would release the proper statistics to the public.

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On the seeming lack of security responses to the communities, the governor said, “I think the way these particular attacks were coordinated was meant to really be on a monumental scale.

“At a point, we had distress calls from no less than 36 communities, and even though some of the reinforcements came a bit late, certainly, the responses were able to push back these terrorists, that is what we are having now. As bad as it is, we can even say it is damage limitation. There are many reasons for the slow response of security agencies. Part is the channel of dissemination, part is the terrain from which these distress calls are coming, and sometimes, when you have achieved relative peace, it’s natural that you can relax.

“And so, these terrorists looked for ungoverned areas where the security deployment was a bit light or absent, and that was where they started these attacks from. And before we were able to get these reinforcements to the right places, a lot of damage had been done.”


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