By John Ikani
The death toll resulting from assaults by gunmen on communities in north-central Nigeria over the weekend has surged to 113, as reported by a local official on Monday.
The attacks, carried out by the locally dubbed “bandits,” occurred across various communities, including the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government areas of Plateau state, spanning from Saturday through the early hours of Monday, according to Monday Kassah, the head of the local government in Bokkos.
Kassah revealed that the attacks unfolded during a festive Christmas atmosphere among the locals. Confirming the grim toll, he informed reporters that 113 lives were lost across approximately 20 communities in the state.
Captain Oya James, the spokesperson for Operation Safe Haven, a joint security task force responsible for maintaining law and order in Plateau state, affirmed the casualty count.
Quoted by The Daily Trust, he stated, “As I am talking to you, we have recovered 113 bodies from those communities. We have recovered more than 300 injured; some were taken to hospitals in Jos and some to a hospital in Barkin Ladi, while others have been taken to hospitals in Bokkos.”
The region is no stranger to clashes between farming communities and herders, a recurring issue in Nigeria’s Plateau state.
Local authorities have cautioned that the number of casualties may escalate. Military personnel, alongside local vigilantes and hunters, are diligently scouring the bushes in search of missing individuals who fell victim to the attacks.