Gunmen raid Plateau villages, kill women, children

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Suspected herdsmen have killed 19 people in an attack on Ariri village in Bassa local government area of Plateau state.

According to witnesses, the attackers invaded the village on Wednesday night and women, young children and local farmers were said to have been shot to death in their sleep.

Earlier on Tuesday, 14 people were killed at Jol village in Riyom local government area of the state.

Chinge Justice, president Irigwe Youth Movement, a group in the area, confirmed the killings, blaming it on suspected herdsmen.

Following the killings, 72 suspects were arrested by officers of the operation safe haven (OPSH) task force set up by the military to combat the spate of violence experienced in the state.

While parading some of the suspects, Augustine Agundu, the commander of OPSH said some “criminals in black attire perpetrating violence” were among those arrested.

Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, blamed elders and elites for the violence in the state, saying they were responsible for sponsoring the criminals on rampage.

The COAS, represented by Agundu, said this on Wednesday during the burial ceremony of three soldiers who were recently killed in Barkin Ladi local government area on September 6, 2018.

“The OPSH effectively came into force on January 21, 2010, but the crises on the Plateau has lingered prior to the establishment of the operation with vulnerable persons bearing the brunt of the crises,” he had said.

“In recent times, the bane of the crises has revolved around the total act of criminality by some unguided and irate youths, mostly under the influence of hard substances.

“It is evident that these youths are supported by a section of the elite/elders, while they have been unable to discourage them from violence, resulting in the absence of any tangible progress towards peace.”

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