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Plateau: A Weekend Of Terror •Both Dantong, Fulani Died Before Getting To Hospital - Chief Nursing Officer
The recent hostility between the Berom and Fulani herdsmen in the northern flank of Plateau State, especially in Barakin-Ladi and Riyom local government areas reached a crescendo last weekend and has been holding the two council areas and entire Plateau State to ransom.
Though there has been constant raid of the areas by the Fulani and occasional counter attacks from the natives since the beginning of this year, the mode of the attack had always been ‘hit and run’ whereby some group of people will attack overnight and disappear into the nearby bush or hills before dawn. But with recent attack, it seemed they have changed their method. They now have a base within the localities, from where they launch frequent attacks on communities.
In the previous attacks, there was never a situation where up to 30 people were killed at a go, but last week Saturday attack was a rude shock to a lot of people in view of the number of casualties recorded and mode of the deadly operations which left no fewer than 120 people dead.
Prior to the attack, there was a peace mission to the state by the newly appointed National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Usman Ibrahim Dasuki (rtd.). During the visit, a stakeholder’s meeting comprising various communities, including the Fulani was conveyed at Ray Field Government House with the NSA in attendance to fashion out a lasting peace. At the meeting which lasted four hours, different groups poured out their minds on the causes and ways out of the hostilities in the state. With the presence of those that had shied away from reconciliation at the meeting, people perceived such gathering as a step towards peace and reconciliation.
The people of the affected local government areas and the entire state, therefore, least expected that some mercenary Fulani herdsmen in collaboration with the local ones would strike, more so that, Colonel Dasuki (rtd) had just visited the state on a peace mission and assurance of linking up with various warring groups with the aim of addressing the lingering problems.
However, the crave for ceasefire and peace by the stakeholders was marred a week later by the deadly attack launched by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on the following Berom villages, including Kakuruk, Kuzen, Ngyo, kogoduk, Ruk, Dogo, Kufang, Kpapkpiduk, Kai in Gashishi District of Barakin-Ladi Local Government and some parts of Riyom council area of the state.
It was learnt that the attack was well-planned and coordinated as reports indicated that just few people escaped from all the affected villages. The gunmen, who wore black attire with bullet proof vest in army fatigue, were armed with sophisticated and superior weapons that the locals could not withstand.
The gunmen, who had been hiding at various hills in the area, made desperate incursion into the villages as early as 6:30a.m and were on rampage for close to six hours, killing and burning houses until men of the Special Task Force arrived and engaged them.
Over 60 people, who escaped from various villages and were taking refuge at Church of Christ in Nigeria in Maste, village were mercilessly killed. A man, who witnessed the gory incident from a hiding place, told Saturday Tribune that the terrorists, who discovered that people were hiding in the church, broke in and killed all the people and set the church ablaze.
Apart from this, the terrorists also raided some parts of Riyom Local Government Area but were confronted by men of the STF who engaged them in a gun duel, forcing them to beat a retreat into their hideout. In the raid, no fewer than 120 people were killed.
However, the situation took a frightening dimension on Sunday when the people along with their representatives in both the state and national assemblies were going from village to village to pick the remains of those who died for burial. While the people were getting set for the mass burial at Matse, the gunmen, who had been laying siege to the vicinity and hiding in the nearby hills struck, opened fire on the mourners and forcing the people to scamper for safety. While running for safety, two lawmakers, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gyang Dantong and Majority Leader, Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Gyang Fulani slumped and died before getting to the hospital.
A barrage of comments have been trailing the incident, different interest groups both within and outside the state have been condemning the killings. For instance, a group christened Berom Youth Group at a press conference in Jos South Local Government Area on Thursday through its National President, Ruwas Francis D Jamang, warned the Federal Government to urgently stop the killings or else they would no longer keep silent and watch Fulani herdsmen kill and hunt down the natives of the land without responding appropriately against the invaders.
The Berom Youths demanded that all illegal Fulani settlements in Berom land should be dismantled; declaring that the Fulani were migratory in nature and their settlements should not be transformed into permanent ones. Apart from the youth, Plateau State House of Assembly chided the Federal Government for allowing the crisis to linger, adding that the state of emergency declared in the troubled areas had further compounded the situation.
Majority of those who reacted to the killing wanted the Federal Government to take decisive action against wanton killing in the state.
However, the way and manner the late Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gyang Dantong and Majority Leader, Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Gyang Fulani died last Sunday has been a subject of controversy among the people of the state. There have been conflicting reports concerning the circumstances surrounding their death.
However, the Chief Nursing Officer, Samson Nyam of Barakin-Ladi General Hospital, who was on ground at the hospital, told Saturday Tribune about the conditions of the two lawmakers when they were brought in separately.
According to him, there was no life in late Hon. Gyang Fulani when he was brought to the hospital “but despite this, we still tried to resuscitate him before we finally certified that he was dead and there was no way we could have carried out any treatment on him.”
“What we did was to wheel him on a stretcher to the ward,” he added.
The Chief Nursing officer further disclosed that the late Senator Dantong was also brought into the hospital 30 minutes after, adding that his body was warm, but there were no respiration, no BP and no sign of life.
“But with this condition, we still tried our best to see the possibility of reviving him. We tried cardiac massage and the necessary things but it was too late. As a professional, I observed that his skin was cold; there was no life in him. When he was brought out of the vehicle and wheeled to resuscitating room, there was no life in him.”
Speaking on the time the late senator was brought to the hospital, the Chief Nursing Officer, Nyam, simply declared thus: “It might be between 30 minutes and an hour after Hon. Gyang Fulani gave up the ghost.”