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Death toll in fresh Plateau attack rises to 48

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Twenty of the gunmen who attacked three communities In Langtang Local Government Area of Plateau State on Thursday were killed by soldiers, the Special Task Force (STF) on the Jos crisis, said yesterday.

This brings to 48 the number of casualties in the attack on Bolgan, Karkashi and Magama villages.

Twenty-eight villagers were killed by the invaders before the intervention of the soldiers, according to the spokesman for the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha.

Captain Mustapha said that the terrorists, on sighting the STF troops, turned their guns on the soldiers.

They were, however, no match for the troops whose weapons made all the difference.

The STF said several of the invaders were wounded and arrested while some others escaped into the bush.

Captain Mustapha said: “Motorcycles, weapons and ammunition were recovered from the assailants.

“Consequently, the attackers withdrew towards Yemini and Ajikamai villages in Shendam Local Government Area of the state to escape.

”The situation was, however, brought under control by men of the STF and the area is secured with the deployment of more troops to the areas. STF men are in the area conducting robust patrol to ensure no further attack on innocent people.”

Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that residents of the affected villages are deserting their communities in droves, following fears that more attacks are underway in the villages.

The Chairman of the Local Government, Mr Naanman Darko, made the disclosure in an interview with NAN in Jos on Friday.

“There are fears of more attacks after what took place yesterday, so the villagers are already running helter-skelter to practically everywhere they think is safe,” Darko said.

NAN reports that the three villages of Bolgang, Magama and Karkashi had been under intense attacks by gunmen who laid siege to the communities early on Thursday, killing many villagers, many of whom were on their way to their farms.

Also fleeing their community are residents of Takbol, a village on the borders of the three affected communities.

The assailants are said to be aggrieved over the theft of their cattle.

Darko, who told NAN that 32 people had been killed, said that some of the victims included students who were writing the NECO examinations.

“It is the farming season and people should be busy. Students are also writing examinations, but all of that has been halted.

“People have abandoned their villages, farms and other property in search of safety. It is a bad situation that could have more devastating effects. There is the fear of hunger in the very near future.

“Early this morning, I called the Police Commissioner (Mr Chris Olakpe), who has promised to send more mobile policemen to help men of the STF,” he said.

Brig.-Gen. Henry Ayoola, Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) maintaining peace in Plateau State, confirmed the attacks, saying, however, that order had been restored in the communities.

Ayoola also confirmed the killing of many people but said the exact figures were not immediately available.

He harped on the need for a more permanent security arrangement to save the area from constant invasion by gunmen.

“Such incessant attacks have affected our economy and every other facet of our lives. Markets are hardly opened and school children are scared of stepping out. No one is safe even in their homes,” he stated.



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