How Pregnant Woman Escaped Killer Herdsmen By Climbing Tree - MRCAESAR.COM


Saturday, 17 March 2018

How Pregnant Woman Escaped Killer Herdsmen By Climbing Tree

After some respite from years of bloody communal and sectarian clashes, the dark days of bloodshed returned to Plateau State during the week with attacks launched by killer herdsmen on hapless residents of Bokkos and Bassa local government areas of the state.

At the last count, no fewer than 23 villages had been attacked in Bassa and five others in Bokkos, leaving no fewer than 35 people dead.

The Nation reports that they also rendered thousands of others homeless.

The tragic incidents, whose one of the highpoints was a pregnant woman who escaped death by a whisker after she climbed a tree, had been heralded last week with the killing of a 17-year-old student of Government Secondary School Jebbu, Bassa LGA. Lumumbah Chayi was attacked and killed by some gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen while returning from a tin mining site near Gero village in Jos South Local Government Area of the state.

Chayi was said to be preparing for his Junior Secondary School Examination (JSSE) at the time the incident occurred. He was said to be returning home from the tin mining site with a friend in the evening when they were attacked by the assailants. Chayi was said to have given up the ghost before he could be rushed to the hospital, while his friend named Ntoro Duh managed to survive the attack. Reliving the ugly incident, Duh, who was rushed to Enos, a private hospital in Miango, said: “Lumumbah (Chayi) and I were on our way home around 3:30 pm on Monday when some Fulani herdsmen attacked us. They attacked my head with a machete, but I managed to escape while they pursued Lumumbah and ensured that they killed him.”

Speak ing at the Chayi’s burial, the head of Kpachudu village in Bassa LGA, Ngwe Gado Dahma, appealed to the federal and state governments to take proactive steps to protect his people’s lives and property. 

Ngwe Dahma said: “We want to appeal to President (Muhammadu) Buhari and Governor (Simon) Lalong to please take proactive steps to ensure the protection of lives and property of the citizens of Irigwe chiefdom. Since the beginning of this year, we here in Kpachudu have lost more than 30 people.”

But sad as it may, the incident was only a dress rehearsal for the bigger attacks that occurred in the two aforementioned local government areas on Monday after initial ones on March 7 and 8, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state.

For the pregnant woman named Ruth Samson, it was a miracle that she escaped the rampaging killer herdsmen, having to climb a tree for the first time in her life, to avoid the killers’ sword. 

She said: “God rescued me by forcing me to climb a tree while the Fulani men were pursuing us in the bush. I noticed that shortly after they started pursuing us, they diverted their attention away from me and went after the other people. That gave me an opportunity to climb a tree willy-nilly.

“I had never climbed a tree in my life. So, how I got the courage to climb the tree is still baffling me. When the gunmen were through with the others, they came back and started looking for me, but I was at the top of a tree, watching them. Luckily for me, none of them looked up, probably because they never thought I could climb a tree in my condition. It was God that saved me.”

Thousands of residents in the affected communities in Bokkos and Bassa local government areas have been rendered homeless following the destruction of their homes, leaving many to ask: “Where is government in all this?”

Israel Akwu, a resident of Kwall in Bassa LGA, wondered why government no longer seemed to care for the lives of its citizens, saying: “Our people are being killed every day by armed men, but government, whose primary responsibility is to protect lives and property, is not living up to its responsibility. We have a democratic government in place in the state. The people being killed are the people that voted the government, and they are the same people that will vote in 2019. Why is it that difficult for government to protect its own people?”

Joshua Kawu, whose younger brother was killed in the last attack, said: “We are facing the most terrible situation in our lives at the moment. Our villages are under siege. Even on the day Mr. President visited the state last week, we were under severe attack by gunmen, but the governor gave Mr. President the impression that there was normalcy in the state. Who do we cry to now?”

National President of the Irigwe Youth Movement, Chinye Dodo Ayuba, called on President Buhari to take a drastic action towards safeguarding the lives of Irigwe people, saying that farmlands were being destroyed on a daily basis.

He said: “We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to know that the security arrangement in place is not working. Most of the attacks take place not far from security checkpoints, and we all know that the first responsibility of government is protection of lives and property. Government should wake up.”

After the killings of 8th and 9th March during the visit of President Buhari to Plateau State, Governor Lalong, in a statement, said he would not sleep until everyone was secured in the state. But two days after, gunmen stormed the same Bassa and killed no fewer than 25 people.

The said attack occurred while the community was preparing a funeral service for about eight people killed during the visit of President Buhari. This provoked the people so much so that they decided to protest the killings on the streets of Jos on Tuesday morning. The protesters, comprising Irigwe women and youths, dressed in black, took their protest to the state’s House of Assembly and the Government House.

The killing also attracted a reaction from Bassa LGA chapter of Plateau Youth Council. Its chairman, Francis Stephen, who issued a statement in Jos on Tuesday, said: “It is with grave pain that we discovered the killings of more than 30 people in Miango and Kwali in Irigwe chiefdom in Bassa LGA within a week by suspected Fulani herdsmen. It is most unfortunate, regrettable and unacceptable.

“Indeed, attacks and killings of community members in Bassa have continued untamed and seemingly uncontrolled. Unfortunately, it is sufficiently evident that the act of killing and destruction of lives and property in Nigeria is no longer news because of the scandalous dimension it has taken. 

“We hereby register our deep-seated, heart-felt sympathy for the victims of this heinous crime. We also wish to strongly commend the Irigwe youths for their exhibition of maturity and show of civility by refusing to take the law into their hands by way of reprisal attack. 

“Consequently, we will not hesitate to remind the government of its constitutional obligations to protect the lives and properties of its citizens to avoid the collapse of our country.

We also wish to call on the security agencies to make sure that the culprits and their sponsors are arrested and charged to appropriate courts for prosecution to serve as deterrent to others and instill confidence in the minds of citizens.” 

In a state-wide broadcast on Wednesday, Governor Lalong reassured the people of his government’s commitment to protecting the lives and property of its citizens. Lalong said: “Let me also assure you of the unwavering commitment of our administration to deliver on the promise of peace and security. Although this emerging conflict trend has affected our collective effort to further consolidate the gains of our post-conflict peace-building process, our commitment to ensure the security of lives and property remains unshakable.

“As part of measures to in the interim arrest the vicious cycle of violent attacks, we are poised to immediately review our state security architecture while working closely with security agencies to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Let me assure our citizens that some arrests have already been made and the suspects will be arraigned before the relevant authorities in no distant future. 

“Meanwhile, beyond these interim measures, we have developed a sustainable policy response to the protracted conflict in the state as contained in the road map to peace document recently launched by Mr President.

“This document contains sustainable solutions to the challenges of peace and security in Plateau State. The Rescue Administration is determined to implement the details of this plan, considering the potential it holds for the future of our state in terms of peace and security.” 

He called on all citizens to remain calm and volunteer useful information to security agencies about any suspicious movement of persons around their neighbourhoods. 

“I call on all citizens to shun rumours and inflammatory speeches capable of disturbing the peace. At a very critical moment like this, let us work together to lend support to those directly affected by these unfortunate incidents,” he added.

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