Following an Armed Invasion meted out against Berom Native Extraction in Ganawuri Chiefdom, Riyom LGA of Plateau State where a night of May 27, 2019 was saturated with bloodbath of 6 Berom natives who were attacked by fully armed militias resulting to 6 persons namely, Gideon Gyang aged 34, Gyang Dachung 58, Hudung Gyang 55, Timothy Gyang 15, Deborah Ayuba 11 and Gwong Ayuba 14 gruesomely murdered, while Mrs. Lyop Gideon aged 26 with her daughter Esther Gideon aged 1 year 6 months survived the gory development that left them in a state of despondency with high nostalgia arising from the tragic loss of her family members whom she had harmoniously lived with, Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq. on 31st day of May, 2019, visited the survivor who narrated that “at about 8:00pm of 27th day of May 2019, I was in my room with my father in-law and other family members while my late husband was resting in the other room, I heard serious gunshot in the room where my husband, Mr. Gideon Gyang was. My deceased mother in-law, Mrs. Hudung Gyang screamed out that her son who is my husband has been killed. The scream, I believe, attracted the attention of the attackers who advanced to our room and also opened heavy gunfire that engulfed 5 others …….. I hid myself behind the door and lied down as if I’m dead.” The shooting however continued for about 30 minutes until vigilante group began calling out for intervention which possibly made the attackers fled.
During the armed raid, the militias enchanted in Fulfulde “uhullo, uhullo” with another word not well pronounced in either Atten/Berom language, “nang me bindiga” meaning “give me a rifle” which the survivor believes to have been used to misrepresent who they are.
On further narration, the survivor said, “my surviving daughter was with my late mother in-law who asked me to hid myself behind our door before she was shot dead. Amazingly, my little girl was not touched despite her continued screaming” Mrs. Lyop hesitantly said with heavy heart of grief.
Another eye-witness, Mrs Elizabeth Monday with her children who almost ran into some of the assailants said, “if not because some locals raised an alarm that scared the attackers who fled towards a direction of Danwal community and a nearby hill where my children and I ran to for safety, the situation would have been more devastating than what happened” She additionally narrated that ” in a process of running for safety, unknown to us that one of the attackers had already stationed himself there. When I saw him thinking he’s one of the locals in the hideout, perplexingly, he did not respond to my questions but rather opened gunfire at us which impelled us taken to our heels. Miraculously, we escaped unhurt”, she said.
After the incident which lasted for about 30 minutes, security agents visited the scene the following morning to unravel the heinous crime committed and also commence preliminary investigation which Police Divisional Headquarters of Riyom LGA is said to had discreetly set on motion.
In relation to a possible intervention for the survivors of the tragic incident, Mrs. Lyop Gideon is hereby appealing to appropriate authorities and spirited individuals to come to her aid as she is grievely traumatized despondently as all her family members have been untimely sent to their early graves in a single Invasion leaving her with no one to call her own especially at this juncture that she would need someone to at least interact with.
The incident is said to have also affected the church on behalf of which Mr. Sati Dachung, Secretary of COCIN CC Nakai registered dissatisfaction over the attack which has invariably affected the body of Christ as locals who are the worshippers have fled leaving the place uninhabitable. He therefore call on Christian bodies both local and Internal to prayerfully stand in the gap of intercession for persecuted Christians in this part of the country.
Similarly, Da Ishaku M. Lowang, Vice Chairman of BECO Vwang District calls on relevant agencies specialized in trauma counselling to step up urgent intervention so as to get Mrs. Lyop Gideon back to her right state of mind, for she is psychologically imballance in view of how united the affected family was before the unleashed genocide was visited on the innocent precious lives.
In a further reaction, Dagwom Rwey of Vwang District, Da Gyang Gutt Balak expressed his sadness over the incident saying, ” even though the area is not under my jueisdiction, but the inhabitants are my natives who, by District and Local Government creation for administrative convenience, found themselves under Ganawuri, and have had not only a long settlement since 1847, but also a peaceful coexistence with neighbors. It’s now unfortunate that people who have been known and attested to be promoters of peace are now an endangered specie in the recent time.” In expressing his bitterness, the Paramount ruler said, “Instead of being applauded, my people are being threatened and attacked with possible intent of either total eviction or extinction therefrom.” He reiterated his commitment to following due process for peaceful coexistence, he said that the matter has been reported to the appropriate authorities including His Majesty, the Gbong Gwom Jos who are really on top of the situation.
Aside the aforementioned steps taken, Da Gyang Gutt Balak called on Government and other relevant agencies as well as Internal bodies, especially those specialized in trauma counselling to come to the aid of the only surviving persons of the recent tragedy in order to have psychological healing otherwise the young woman stands a likelihood of becoming mentally dislocated as she is incoherent and instable in her narration. He also appeal for stationing of Mobile Police Unit to strengthen the effort of Police Outpost on ground to guarantee the security of the locals who have deserted the place to Vom where Mrs. Lyop Gideon with her little daughter have been hosted pending when the atmosphere warrants their safe return.
Going by the facts of the arm attacks, it’s deducible that the following interventions become expedient:
1. Trauma counselling for Mrs Lyop Gideon in order to be psychologically balanced;
2. Vocational training and support to enable her be self-supporting and sufficiency in order to avoid over dependency on gestures of spirited individuals;
3. Materials and/or financial support and others which includes fertilizer to enable her maintain few cultivated farmlands so as to guarantee food security in this hard time;
4. Provision of Scholarship for education of Mrs. Lyop’s little baby;
5. Deployment of Mobile Police agents to guarantee the security of the volatile area so that Displaced Persons can return to continue with farming activities;
6. Effort be intensified to fish out the assaillants so that they can face the wrath of the law. By so doing, prospective actors of inhumanity will deter from such proclivity; and
7. Any other intervention that is expediently necessary in the circumstance of this gory development.
By Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq.
Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN)