Grace Godwin, a mother-of-three, witnessed terror unfold on Christmas Eve as gunmen menaced nearby villages. Her husband’s urgent warning led them to seek refuge in the bush, narrowly escaping a harrowing attack. Suspected nomadic herders reportedly wreaked havoc across 15 villages in Plateau state, leaving at least 140 dead in a brutal onslaught with firearms and machetes, officials and residents confirmed.
“The devastation was unimaginable. Homes were in ashes, and lives were lost. People are missing,” recounted Godwin, highlighting the carnage wrought upon Mayanga village where survivors, predominantly women and children, fled for safety.
Such bloodshed hasn’t been seen since 2018 in Nigeria’s central region, an area prone to clashes between herders and farmers. The violence, often framed as ethno-religious strife, primarily involves Muslim Fulani herders and Christian farmers. However, experts point to escalating conflicts spurred by climate change and land disputes arising from agricultural expansion.
Nomadic herders from the north, facing climate challenges, are compelled to seek grazing lands farther south, encroaching on territories cultivated by southern farmers. This escalating competition for resources is intensifying tensions, transcending ethnic or religious divides.
“These attacks persist. They aim to displace us, but we will stand our ground,” asserted Magit Macham, who narrowly escaped the chaos, providing insights into the assailants’ ruthless methods, involving gunfire and deadly machetes.
Plateau’s governor decried the “unprovoked” violence, lamenting the torched houses, vehicles, and motorcycles. President Bola Tinubu condemned the attacks as “primitive and cruel,” urging law enforcement to apprehend the culprits, yet a comprehensive strategy to address the pervasive security concerns remains unspecified.