At least four women, one man, one boy and girl have been murdered close to the Nigerian city of Jos. The death toll includes the wife, two children and grandson of a local pastor. Some estimates say that as many as ten people may have been killed in the brutal attack.
According to a story written by Chika Otuchikere and Gonji Palang for www.allAfrica.com, the vicious killings took place on Saturday, July 17, 2010, in Maza village, located in the north region of Jos.
The story stated that the ambush occured at around 1 am to 2 am, and the attackers were identified as “nomadic Fulani herdsmen.” They were seen to be armed with dangerous weapons, among them guns, cutlasses, bows and arrows, which they used to “unleash their terror on unsuspecting residents.”
The Fulani herdsmen have gained notoriety for disruption of the peace and “negative activity,” said the report.
The journalists went on to say, “Their attack on the Maza village was ruthless. Along with an estimated ten dead, the Fulani herdsmen burned down houses and places of worship, such as the Church of Christ in Nigeria.
“Reverend Nuhu Dawat was the pastor of this church, and along with it burnt to the ground, he grieves the loss of his wife and two children.”
Dawat shared his experience in the attack, in which he said that at 1am he “hid for his life” after answering the door to find nothing there except the sound of gunshots.
“I was there watching as the people were breaking into houses and running after those who escaped from their houses,” he said. “After they left, I returned to my house only to find my wife, two children and a grandson hacked to death.”
Members of a local Task Force eventually intervened in the invasion and began carrying out their peacekeeping duties.
“They mediated by firing gunshots to scare the herdsmen away and to stop the villagers from retaliating on the Fulani herdsmen,” said the story. “It has been confirmed that the task force has arrested one Fulani herdsman at the scene of the attack.”
“It shows the fragile peace we have here,” said Lt. Col. Kingsley Umoh, media and public relations officer of the Special Task Force (STF), who has quoted different figures concerning for the outcome of the invasion. According to Umoh, the attackers are unidentified at this point, and ten people were killed with another ten injured.
Commissioner for information and communication, Mr. Gregory Yenlong, told the journalists, “The attack is nothing unusual; it is just another attempt to destroy the peace Plateau people have been enjoying in the past months.”
Yenlong continued to appeal to the people of the Maza village to “remain calm and not to take the law into their own hands.” He reassures that the Special Task Force will be more vigilant in preventing another attack from happening again.
He added, “It is an embarrassing situation. Just when we thought we had found peace, we suddenly have to cope with another ugly situation.”
Danielle Miskell, Assist News Service