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Plateau Killings: Gunmen Kill 36 Villagers In Nigeria's Divided Plateau State As Kaduna, Delta Govts Evacuate Students

  Plateau Killings: Gunmen Kill 36 Villagers In Nigeria's Divided Plateau State As Kaduna, Delta Govts Evacuate Students AUGUST 27 , 202...


Plateau Killings: Gunmen Kill 36 Villagers In Nigeria's Divided Plateau State As Kaduna, Delta Govts Evacuate Students


(CNN)Attackers shot dead at least 36 people and destroyed buildings in a night raid on a village near the central Nigerian city of Jos, officials said, in an area hit by repeated ethnic clashes. The gunmen went house to house killing residents in Yelwa Zangam late on Tuesday, a military spokesman said. Troops struggled to get to the area as a bridge had been destroyed, he added. Jos is the capital of Plateau State - part of Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt which has seen regular fighting between the Hausa-Fulani group, who dominate the whole of northern Nigeria, and a number of much smaller local ethnic groups.

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong described the attack as a "barbaric act", and said security forces had arrested 10 suspects and were pursuing others. He said he was reinstating a 24-hour curfew on the surrounding area to prevent further loss of life and property. Authorities had only recently relaxed a curfew imposed after attackers killed 22 commuters in the same area on Aug 14. One local resident said the attackers were Fulanis from a nearby area involved in a feud with the Yelwa Zangam community. Reuters could not independently verify this. A registrar at a hospital in Jos told Reuters that 36 bodies had been brought in from the village.

Upsurge of violence

The whole of Nigeria has been experiencing an upsurge of violence this year, with abductions for ransom and armed robberies commonplace in several states. The underlying cause of much of the tension is poverty which intensifies competition for resources and jobs and, in the Middle Belt, exacerbates a complex inter-section of ethnic and religious rivalries. The Hausa-Fulani, who number tens of millions across Nigeria and are mostly Muslim, are seen as a threat by some of the smaller Middle Belt groups, who are predominantly Christian.

Following the tense security situation in Plateau, the Kaduna State government has evacuated its students studying at the University of Jos and other tertiary institutions within the neighbouring state. The Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Scholarship and Loans Board, Rilwan Hassan, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said the evacuation was concluded last weekend in line with the state government’s directive.

According to Mr Hassan, the move is to ensure that all students of Kaduna State are not trapped or cut in a crossfire, even as the situation tends to be further degenerating. He explained that 87 students were evacuated on Friday last week by security agencies under the supervision of the board and have since been reunited with their families.

The scholarship board chief promised that the body would continue to remain proactive in such kind of volatile situations and assured Kaduna citizens of the commitment to securing the lives of the state’s students in Plateau and elsewhere. In a similar vein, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has ordered the immediate evacuation of students of Delta origin from crisis troubled Jos following renewed crisis and security concerns in Plateau State.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Student’s Affairs, Jerry Ehiwario, said that the evacuation exercise commenced on Thursday. He commended the governor for the prompt approval for the exercise, adding that the lives of Delta students were very dear to the state. Ehiwaro also commended the Secretary to the State Government, Patrick Ukah, for his proactiveness and prompt response to the governor’s directive.

He stated further that the government has despatched three buses with police escorts to move Delta students from the troubled zone. “When we heard about the incident in Jos, I (Ehiwario) wrote to the governor, informing him on the need to evacuate students of Delta origin from the crisis zone,” he said. “The governor graciously approved the evacuation which commenced today Thursday, August 26.”


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