Twelve persons have been killed and 28 others injured after gunmen suspected to be Fulani militias attacked celebrants at a cultural festival at Chando Zerreci community, Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The incident occurred as the people of Irigwe ethnic nationality of the state were celebrating ‘Zerreci’, an annual festival meant to usher in the rainy/farming season.
According to a member of the community, Michael Danjuma who escaped the attack by the whisker, said the incident happened on Saturday, April 2, at about 11:45 pm.
Danjuma added that ten people were initially killed while another two were also killed on the festival ground.
“12 people were gunned down instantly while 28 others sustained a gunshot wound and now receiving treatments at various hospitals in Jos,” the survivor said.
The Irigwe Development Association (IDA) in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Davidson Mallison confirmed the incident adding that the attack was carried out by the Fulani militia.
“Early this morning Sunday they also attacked our people at Ritivo while observing the traditional and cultural festival and two persons have been confirmed killed with others wounded as a result of bullet injury.
“In total,12 people have been killed while about 28 people have sustained varying degrees of injuries. At the time of compiling this report, searching for victims is still on, that is to say, the report can be updated in case of any incoming information,” the statement disclosed.
It added that the attack was a coordinated one executed by the marauders as they targeted spots where the Rigwe people usually observed their cultural ritual.
Speaking with PUNCH, the National Publicity Secretary, Irigwe Youths Movement, Lawrence Zongo, who confirmed the killings in Jos on Sunday, said ten people were killed while 19 others injured.
“We have a tragedy in our land right now as our people have been attacked and killed again. This time, during our annual ritual festival ‘Zerreci’ the festival that will usher them into the rainy and farming season,” Zongo said.
“They were attacked by Fulani militants normally referred to by Government authorities as ‘Unknown Gunmen’ on 2nd, April 2022 at 11 pm at the ritual ground Chando Zerreci in Bassa Local Government of Plateau State.
“10 people were killed and 19 people survived with bullet wounds, they are undergoing medical treatment at Enos Hospital Miango, while others have been moved to Jos,”
“Brutal attacks on Rigwe communities are becoming rampant and frequent. This is unacceptable. The government must take more concrete steps to protect lives and property across Rigwe chiefdom and neighboring communities,”
“Nigeria authorities both at federal and state levels failed to protect the lives and properties of the Rigwe people allowing them to be at the mercy of gunmen
“The government must as a matter of urgency investigate the attack in Rigwe land and bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure families and other victims are adequately compensated.”
The State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ubah Gabriel Ogaba, who confirmed the attack added that men of the Command have been deployed to the affected community.