Prior to this week’s bold and commendable initiative by “The Concerned Plateau Youth Group” to organise a sensitisation campaign in Abuja, most Plateau citizens hadn’t really demonstrated any real interest or concern to the plight of our brothers/sisters in Barkin Ladi and Riyom. Several times, we (ViewPointNigeria) would disseminate information and gruesome images of attacks where women, children and the aged were killed and villages made extinct, but only a few people showed genuine concern beyond the usual liking of the pictures on Facebook or typing some trivial sympathetic messages about the victims or the killings –the most notable of these messages being “May their souls rest in peace, “Enough is Enough” or “when will this end”? Too many words, very little action –one would say.
The reality of it is that we as citizens of Plateau should be doing more than hiding behind our phones or computer screens and typing these mundane messages of sympathy. We should be standing up and taking bold actions like these “Concerned Youths” have done. Unfortunately, we haven’t been doing so –many of us treat the killings as though it is a distant thing that we are completely immune from. Well, sorry to tell you, but for every child killed, for every mother murdered, for every man that is shot or decapitated, your heritage, values and way of life is under threat. Whether you are Mwaghavul, Angas, Taroh, Boghom, Mupun, Goemai, or Hausa etc –we have a shared heritage which is currently under major siege.
Who are these killers?
In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the fact that “ordinary nomadic Fulani herdsmen” (i.e., the cattle rearers) are not entirely behind the constant killings on the Plateau. I still stand by this assertion and I was recently proven right by an article in the Vangaurd, which affirmed strongly that arrested professional killers have confessed to their membership of Boko Haram.
Now, I am not suggesting at all that Fulani herdsmen are not involved –I portend that some of them are, but the reality of it is that they appear to be working in tandem with a professional arm of Boko Haram’s killer squad, who have been commissioned to undertake phase II of the Boko Haram insurgency in middle belt states, by wiping out small middle belt tribes from their enclaves. So in essence, Fulani herdsmen who know the middle belt terrain very well, are used as the guide masters to lead this professional killers to various villages as they perpetual their acts of genocide.
Now that herdsmen have been caught, who confessed their membership of the dreaded sect, this should be the focus of every Plateau man’s thinking at the moment –especially our leaders in the House of Representatives, Senate and House of Assembly. They should be making this clear to all and sundry that Plateau is under the same siege as what is happening in Borno state.
What this new revelation means is that all along our Nigerian Military forces got their counter insurgency strategy wrong. By simply fighting Boko Haram in the North East (Borno, Yobe, Adamawa etc), the Nigerian military is only dealing with one phase of the problem. The second phase of the Boko Haram menace, is the one currently playing out in the middle belt, where Fulani nomads, working closely with Boko Haram’s killer squad are seeking to exterminate middle belt tribes. This genocide which is currently being undertaken on the Plateau and surrounding states must become the concern of every Plateau man and woman however highly or lowly place you are. We must realise that we are not simply defending our heritage against herdsmen, but against a set of highly trained militia on a genocidal mission.
Now, why do I assert that these killers are not ordinary Fulani herds men? Firstly the confession (see link above) by some of the arrested members have confirmed that, but beyond that, anyone who is familiar with the tactics of guerrilla warfare knows that stealth and execution is everything. The modus operandi of this professional squad bear hallmarks of a highly trained and sophisticated group, one which is over and beyond the capability of ordinary nomads –they strike in the middle of the night, exterminate entire villages with so much efficiency and ease and then vanish into thin air without a trail. Not even our trained STF forces can attempt to stop them, as we’ve seen in the past.
Where do these killers operate from?
Based on our analysis –these killers operate within a 150km square radius, which traverses several states of the federation. These are areas between Riyom LGA (Plateau), Barkin Ladi LGA (Plateau), Jos South (Plateau), Sanga LGA (Kaduna state), Kadarko (Kaduna State), Ibi (Taraba state), Takum (Taraba state), Keana LGA (Nasarawa), Obi (Nasarawa), Agatu (Benue), Ukum (Benue), Logo (Benue).
The markings on the GoogleEarth image below shows areas which have been attacked perpetually by these militia. It also show the potential path which these individuals follow to wreak havoc on innocent lives.
This killer brigade moves in stealth from Local government to Local government, state to state, killing people and sacking entire villages. This explains why several of these attacks have been so rampant and without much luck in halting them. To illustrate my point, I have attached a GoogleEarth image (see image above) which shows the perimeter which these professional militia operate. I have marked areas where there have been several attacks. Each of the places marked on the map have witnessed numerous attacks in the past few months. Starting from the hills of Plateau in Riyom and Barkin Ladi, all the way down toward Quanpan, Shendam, Langtang and then into Nasarawa state and then Taraba and Benue states. This demonstrates that the issues is not simple a Berom one, or a Plateau one for that matter, but a Middle belt problem where several states are under seige. Governors and legislators of these areas need to wake-up to their responsibility.
What needs to be done?
Every Plateau man and woman needs to heighten their awareness of what is going on. We then need to move from our usual carefree attitude of “bai shafe ni ba” to actually thinking about how and what we can do in our own little ways. We need to begin to speak to our leaders, hold them accountable, demand that they speak up, demand that they take action.
In these dark days -I remember fondly Hon. Bitrus Kaze, the man who would speak even in the face of intimidation. He spoke even when it was outside his constituency. We need such people today on the Plateau.
Dr. Chinan Mclean
Related article: http://www.viewpointnigeria.com/plateau-genocide-and-president-muhammadu-buhari/
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