Following a distressed called received from Neighborhood Watch of Jol Community, Riyom LGA that a group of Fulani militias invaded local miners numbering over 500 at about 11:03am of 23rd September, 2020, ECCVN immediately reached out to security agents for possible intervention which was swiftly considered as personnel of Operation Rainbow, Divisional Police Headquarters of Riyom as well as Operation Safe Haven swung into action and save the situation from escalating.
Upon visit to the community, people were found in delirium after vacating the mining site situated close to the community forest area where 9 persons, namely:
1. Mrs. Na’ome Joshua (widow) age 38.
2. James Musa, 32.
3. Alpha Pam, 24.
4. Joshua Bwede, 40.
5. Richard Chong, 22.
6. Davou Yakubu Darian, 35.
7. Darwang Gyang, 30.8. Timothy Dachollom, 28.
9. Dachung Gambous,51.
sustained varying degrees of injuries arising from the attack, and admitted at Primary Health Centre of Jol for medical attention, 4 motorcycles damaged while 2 mobile phones and 5 Hose of Water-pumps belonging to some of the natives carted away by the said attackers.
Mrs. Naome Joshua, in her response, narrated that, “we were working at mining site in search of Tin to fend for ourselves and families. Shockingly, more than 100 Fulani herdsmen carrying sticks, machetes and dangerous weapons including firearms attacked us, saying that their permission was not sought before extending mining activities to the other part of the land the mining activities were going on… for it’s a conquered land where no one should ever mines thereon unless with their permission..” she said.
Mr. Dachung Gambo, one of the victims who narrowly escaped with hand injury reacted that, “the attack meted out by a group of Fulani herdsmen numbering more than hundred among whom were some identified Fulani who invaded with brandishing dangerous objects including firearms but they didn’t shoot rather, they used stick, cutlasses and stones on us… they matched out from direction of Guava and Mahanga area and turned the mining site into pandemonium as everyone ran for his or her life..”
He added that “our land is our inheritance and would not be shared with Fulani just as their Cows are theirs and we have never asked them for a share. We don’t border with them in terms of land, but they keep expanding land grabbed in Jol with no action taken by relevant authorities to restore our lands.”
He cites instances of places under forceful occupation by the Fulani herdsmen, “Rankum one amongst many hamlets lost out through violent attacks meted out on us, after which they renamed it as Mahanga, just as Fass hamlet renamed Tafawa right before public watch” he lamented.
This and many other reasons made the natives cried out for justice and restoration of Rankum (Mahanga) and Fass (Tafawa) by the aggressors whose territorial expansionist agenda has been extended calving out more than half of the natives land under conquest aside increasing mischievous grazing and mowing down of crops in addition to the sustained threats of attack the native inhabitants have been continually subjected to while the aggressors apparently perpetrate crimes with impunity.
Meanwhile, Hon. Joshua Adamu, councilor representing the community called for calmness, but condemned the attack as ” unfortunate development” recalling that the said land in question was under natives cultivation prior to terror invasions by the Fulani.
On the health condition of the victims, two are said to be critical and given referrals to a higher hospital for technical examination medically required as said by Mrs.
In another related development recorded the same day, two natives of Sopp Community, Riyom LGA were reportedly attacked by Fulani herder after a mischievous grazing on Fonio and Finger Millets farmed crops at about 2:00pm or thereabout. The victims are Mrs. Margaret Bwede and her son Dadong Bwede who sustained fatal injuries and rushed to Plateau Hospital where they are currently receiving medical attention according to anonymous local source which has it that two suspects were arrested by personnel of Operation Safe Haven stationed not far from the scene of the incident.
The incidents above are pointers confirming planned attacks said to have been on ground against local villages and communities requiring discreet investigation intelligently carried out to unravel the actors in order to guarantee public peace and security of all sundry.
Additionally, it’s hereby pleaded that there should be an order vacating all land grabbed, and ban on open grazing to promote food security otherwise impunity would be seen to have been encouraged.
Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, Esq.
Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria