The death toll from a series of attacks on villages in Plateau state could be more than 200, local activists say.
As many as 20,000 have been displaced by a series of assaults by unidentified assailants on villages around Mangu local government, north-central Nigeria.
Leaders in the area believe that the attacks are still going on, over a week after they started. Communication is difficult and the area is not secure. The attackers are not moving on from some villages, holding them and repelling anyone who approaches.
The assailants are believed to be Fulani terrorists. The attacks began on villages and hamlets around Kubwat and Fungzai in Mangu local government area on May 16.
Head of the Mwaghavul Development Association, Joseph Gwankat put the toll of how many had been killed at “over 200” but could not say how that figure was compiled.
Amnesty International in Nigeria said the figure was “over 100”, but a true picture may not be known for some time.
“We cannot access Kantoma, we cannot access Washna, we cannot access Changal,” Gwankat said, naming hamlets in Mangu LGA.
According to him, the crisis has displaced more than 20,000 people but he said, they plan to do an inventory later that will capture the exact number.
He added that more villages are being deserted as every day goes by.
But, when asked about how he compiled the fatality count, the community leader cut off the call, saying “take it like that or leave it.”
Bury the bodies
Nigeria has witnessed reoccurring farmer-herders clashes in recent years.
Pankyes Solomon, a resident of Jwak Mai Tumbi community, now taking refuge in Mangu said they have been denied the chance to pick up the dead bodies.
“We are trying to bury the bodies of the people they killed but they chased us away,” he continued while narrating that no security has been provided to them to carry out the burial.
According to him, half of the people killed in his community have not been buried.
“The humanitarian situation is worse. People are running into Mangu. We have to provide camps for them, apart from those that are living with their relatives.”
Another source told HumAngle how 36 people have been living in her house since the crisis began. “And, more are coming today, we feed them with no intervention,” she told HumAgle through an instant messaging app.
The displaced people are receiving some forms of humanitarian aid from benevolent individuals and faith-based organisations, although the population of those is so large that only few get relief materials.
The communities decried lack of humanitarian assistance from the government. “We are yet to see the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and we are yet to see the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),” Gwankat told HumAngle on the phone while pleading for assistance from governmental and non-governmental organisations.
“They are just taking the number of people that are homeless. They have not given us anything as of now,” Solomon said.
He said they want to go back to their communities and farm, as most of them are farmers.
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