Armed ViolenceNews

Security Services Were Warned Of Deadly Plateau Attack, Say Community

Fulani herders opposed to communal violence warned the Berom community terrorists were moving to attack them, leaders said. The warnings were passed on to the security services, but no action was taken.

Security Services did not respond to warnings of an imminent attack on a Plateau community in which six people were killed, leaders in the area say.

A youth leader from Jos South told HumAngle security services were given at least two hours’ notice that Fulani terrorists were on their way to attack Vwang on April 25. 

The police and military did not arrive, sparking protests in the community. 

Sympathetic Fulani herders, against communal violence, sent a message to leaders of the Berom community, warning men with guns were moving through the area to attack Berom villages, youth leader and lawyer Solomon Dalyop said.

“It is not all the Fulani who are supporting them [the terrorists] but sometimes they have to hide themselves like they are participating, if they were spotted in this they would be killed,” Dalyop said.

The gunmen struck and killed six men working at a tin mine near Farin Lamba, a village on the main road into the city of Jos, at around 9 pm.  

Violence between herders and farmers in Plateau and neighbouring Kaduna state has been occurring for many years. 

Vigilante message

Once Dalyop and other leaders received a message from their contacts in the Fulani community, they spread the information to local vigilantes and the security services.

Vigilante groups spotted the armed men and circulated a text message, which then found its way to social media.

The message said: “Security alert: villages such as Sham, Wereng, Kum, Byei of Riyom LGA, and Farin Lamba and Dabwak in Jos South to be attacked any moment from now as armed Fulani have been spotted moving toward the area. Chaha, Rangyel, K-Vom and Chakarum, should also be on a serious watch.”

The men who were killed were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and presented an opportunistic target, said Dalyop. Five other miners survived the attack, he said. 

A day after the killings, women from Farin Lamba blocked the road into Jos in protest at the inaction of the security services, while the bodies of the miners were taken to their burial site nearby. 

In response to the protest blocking the road for several hours, the police arrived and moved the protestors on. 

A spokesman for the Governor of Plateau state declined to comment.

At the time of filing, Police had not responded to calls or text messages from HumAngle requesting comment.

It was reported that Plateau State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Alfred Alabo, told journalists in Jos: “the Commissioner of police paid a visit to the Farin Lamba community, together with the Commandant, NSCDC, to extend his condolences over the recent killings in the community and assured the community that the command has put in place all necessary modalities to ensure that the perpetrators of this ungodly acts are brought to book.”

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Mahdi Garba

Mahdi Garba covers development, security, conflict, climate & disinformation at HumAngle. He heads the Humanitarian Desk at HumAngle. He tweets regularly @MahdiGarba.

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