President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of the ethnic reprisal killings in Nigeria’s Plateau State.
The order follows the police confirmation that at least 19 people lost their lives in the attacks on Friday night on Ancha Village in Bassa Local Government Area.
Police said most of the victims were women and children.
The decades of clashes between Fulani settlers and indigenous Barom people, had almost been resolved before the latest attacks.
Disruption of peace
President Buhari expressed disappointment at the disruption of peace, tasking stakeholders not to allow the violent incident to destroy the progress made so far.
"It is unlawful for anyone or group to take the law into their hands in the name of revenge or reprisals, rather than follow due process by allowing law enforcement agencies to fish out any such aggressors, who will be made to face justice,’’ he said.
“The various communities in the state have taken many steps, with the support of security agencies and mediators to pull the state back from the brink of anarchy and senseless killings warranted by attacks and counterattacks.’’
President Buhari urged all Nigerians to embrace peace and emphasised the determination of the Federal Government to protect the lives and property of all citizens.
The Plateau State police commissioner, Mr Peter Ogunyanwo, said that preliminary investigations had indicated that the attack was carried out by unidentified gunmen.
“We are investigating the matter, but from our findings so far, the attack was carried out by the Fulani to avenge the killing of a young boy,” he said.
“We have been told that a boy resident in the village was reported missing on August 3. We are told that his body was later found without the head."
The attack came three days after the body of the missing Fulani boy was found.
The Commissioner said five suspects had been arrested over the missing Fulani boy, but that no arrest had been made in respect of the Friday’s attack.