PLATEAU – Tragedy struck the city of Riyom in Plateau state on Monday 6th January 2014, as gunmen raided Shonong in Bachit District leaving 30 dead and 25 others injured.
The attacks, which also left 40 houses burnt down, came just 12 days after the burial of the acting head of Shonong and Attarkar who was killed on December 23rd 2013.
Our correspondent gathered from eye-witnesses that apart from those killed, over 40 houses were torched by the gunmen believed to be Fulani cattle rearers . Also affected were domestic animals belonging to the villagers.
The attackers were said to have stormed the village around 7am on Monday in a commando-like manner, shooting sporadically. Those killed were caught in the pandemonium that followed staccato bursts of gunfire.
Shom Toma, one of the survivors, who is receiving treatment at the Vom Christian Hospital, Jos, told journalists that the attackers numbering over 100 struck at a time most of the villagers had gone to their farms.
Toma said he was moulding some blocks near his house when he heard gunshots. He said most of the victims were children and elderly people.
The Executive Director of Stefanos Foundation, Mr. Mark Lipdo, said that information available to him indicated that the dead could be over 30.
He added that a search team was still going round the village looking for some of the villagers who ran into bushes with gunshot wounds .
Lipdo said, “Information just reaching us says Fulani herdsmen attacked Bachit, Shorong in Riyom LGA. Sources said over 30 bodies were seen in some parts of the community, including the bushes.
“The villagers are presently watching helplessly as soldiers have taken no action because they said they have not been given order to take action.”
But the Plateau State Police Commissioner, Mr. Chris Olakpe, said, “I was told that only four people were killed and a couple of houses burnt.”