The violent ethnoreligious conflict between Mwagavul farmers and Fulani herders in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State took a different dimension in Ampang West community where the herders’ lives and properties were protected by their Mwagavul neighbours.
Sa’idu Abubaker, a displaced herder from the community who is now camping in Bauchi State told WikkiTimes they were attacked by Mwagavul people from other communities, “but not our Mwagavul neighbours.”
Abubakar and his family members including some relatives numbering about 500 are camping at Nomadic Primary School Mararaban Liman Katagum, Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State.
According to him, their Mwagavul neighbours in Ampang secretly put some of their Fulani relatives to spare them from being lynched by other marauding Mwagavuls who invaded the community.
“They took my brother Garba and our father Ardo to their houses to avoid being killed by the attackers. In fact, these people (neighbours) saved many lives in our area,” he said. “May God bless them.”
While commending the gesture, he said they had peacefully lived in the community for over a century with the other tribes and had never experienced a similar tragedy.
‘BUT OUR FAMILY MEMBERS WERE KILLED’
According to Abubakar, about two hundred herders were killed and scores are still missing across various communities in the conflict-ravaged local council.
“But they killed some of our family members and relatives across our neighbouring communities. We can’t figure out the exact number now because some relatives are still missing. We were just informed that the body of one of our missing family members was found somewhere,” he said.
He alleged that Operation Rainbow, a local security outfit in Plateau, abetted Mwagavul farmers against the herders.
“Fulani were butchered like animals, burnt alive, their properties were looted and set ablaze,” he said amid tears. “We are now camping in Bauchi community here, we don’t know anyone here, we need help. We have aged victims with us here, children and sick persons. There are sickle cell patients here as well.”
Some sick children in the camp
Abubakar told WikkiTimes life has been difficult since they moved to the camp in Bauchi State. He called on governments at all levels to help them with basic materials.
“We don’t have food and shelter. We are totally stripped of everything…”
Hajiya Habiba Ardo, 58, another victim of the attack, corroborated that hundreds of relatives have been killed during the attacks.
Habiba recalled how she, alongside others, fled her community at the sight of the assailants.
“We walked hundreds of kilometres to reach Quanpan and Shendam local councils before we moved to Bauchi here. Some of us sustained injuries,” she said.
Habiba believes the attacks were aimed at dislodging herders from the communities. She also urged the government and other individuals to come to their aid.
BAUCHI SENATOR TO THE RESCUE
Last Friday, Shehu Buba, a senator representing Bauchi South, assisted the victims with some basic materials.
“He helped us with mattresses, mats, mosquito nets, cooking materials and some foodstuffs,” Abubakar told WikkiTimes. “We really appreciate him. We call on others to emulate him.”
Materials donated by Senator Shehu Buba
Further, Abubakar lamented that the displaced people in the camp outnumbered the materials brought as their needs increased on a daily basis.
He thanked the host community in Bauchi, calling on the state government to help them with “temporary houses” so they could allow the students of the host school to continue their classes.