There is fresh tension in some recently attacked villages in Plateau State after the Special Task Force (STF), charged with maintaining peace in Plateau, gave inhabitants of some crisis-prone villages 48 hours to vacate their communities.
In a statement, STF spokesman, Salisu Mustapha, said that a “military operation” is going on in the affected areas located in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom Local Governments.
“The inhabitants of the affected areas are to vacate immediately with their property,” the statement stated.
The affected villages include – Mahanga, Kakuruk, Maseh and Shong 2.
The statement did not say where the inhabitants of the villages should head to, and whether they would be resettled.
A resident of one of the villages said it was unfair and uncharitable for the STF to order them out of their ancestral villages without providing alternatives.
“We know no other home,” he said. “Where do they want us to go? Why must they treat us as if we are foreigners in our own country.”
The villager indicated that he and his kinsmen might disregard the STF’s order “since we have no where to go”.
The STF however, advised residents of neighbouring settlements such as KuraFalls, Kuzuk, Sharuk, Rim of Gashish Districts not to panic.
“Residents of such areas should just be very careful of their movement within the area and avoid places of military operation until further notice,” the STF said.
The task force also advised people to report any suspicious movement or activities in their areas.
The military operation may have resulted from the incessant attacks by gunmen on some communities in the areas.
The attacks reached a crescendo on Sunday, July 4 when a serving senator, Gyang Dantong, and Gyang Fulani, Majority Leader in the Plateau House of Assembly, lost their lives in a stampede after gunmen attacked them at Maseh village during a burial ceremony.
The two lawmakers had gone to the village to join others for the mass burial of several dozens of villagers that were killed in earlier attacks by gunmen.